Is Dodd-Frank the Biggest Law Ever?
41 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2020
Date Written: July 20, 2020
The passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 continued a trend toward lengthier and more complex acts of Congress. We use novel metrics of the size, scope, and complexity of acts of Congress to assess Dodd-Frank’s place in this trend. Our analysis is consistent with the hypothesis that, in terms of its regulatory effects, Dodd-Frank is the biggest act of Congress in recent history and may become the biggest ever. We argue that this trend toward longer and more complex laws can cause deterioration in the quality of the regulations the laws authorize for two procedural reasons. First, a large act can create a regulatory surge that overwhelms the quality control process. Second, because a large act can precipitate the creation of many regulations by different agencies that target the same industry, the agencies create rules in relative ignorance of their potential interactions.
Keywords: Dodd-Frank, financial regulation, complexity of law, scope of law, RegData
JEL Classification: C63, C81, C82, G28, K23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation