RegData: Australia

Posted: 16 Jul 2019 Last revised: 19 Jul 2019

See all articles by Patrick A. McLaughlin

Patrick A. McLaughlin

Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Oliver Sherouse

Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy

Jason Potts

RMIT University

Date Written: June 27, 2019


In this paper we introduce RegData Australia (RDAU1.0) and present some preliminary and comparative findings using this new panel. RDAU1.0 applies the RegData method to create a unique Australian database that extends from 1997 to 2012. RegData uses text analysis to quantify restrictive clauses in legislation, significantly improving the accuracy of measurements of regulatory incidence. RDAU1.0 extends and adapts the RegData methodology to Australian regulations and legislation. We use RDAU1.0 to capture broad patterns in Australian regulation, and we compare these data to RegData findings from other regulatory jurisdictions, including the federal government in the United States and several US state governments. A preliminary analysis yields relational evidence consistent with previous researchers’ hypothesis that the extent of regulation will be determined by the size of the market because of the fixed costs of regulatory production. This hypothesis suggests that regulatory volume in a specific jurisdiction will scale as a function of the jurisdiction’s population. We examine RegData metrics of regulation for 23 different jurisdictions, including the federal governments of Australia and the United States and the state governments of 21 American states, and find a positive and significant correlation between regulatory volume and population.

Keywords: regulation, RegData, Australia

JEL Classification: K2, L5, N4, Y1

Suggested Citation

McLaughlin, Patrick A. and Sherouse, Oliver and Potts, Jason, RegData: Australia (June 27, 2019). Mercatus Research Paper . Available at SSRN:

Patrick A. McLaughlin (Contact Author)

Mercatus Center at George Mason University ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
(703) 993-9670 (Phone)


Oliver Sherouse

Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy ( email )

409 Third St., S.W.
Washington, DC
United States

Jason Potts

RMIT University ( email )

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