About RURB

Regulatory burdens arise from the costs imposed by regulation and enforcement that would otherwise not arise for businesses. Where requirements from regulation create a change in business behavior and practices, a regulatory burden can be said to exist. Regulations can adversely impact businesses in various ways. Most fall under the following four categories of cost impacts:

(1) Administrative and operational requirements, such as:

  • Reporting, record keeping
  • Getting legal advice, training

(2) Requirements on the way goods are produced or services supplied, such as:

  • Prescriptions on production methods
  • Occupational registration requirements, requiring professionals to use particular techniques

(3) Requirements on the characteristics of what is produced or supplied, such as:

  • Being required to provide airbags in all motor vehicles
  • Requiring teachers or trainers to cover particular topics

(4) Lost production and marketing opportunities due to prohibitions, such as:

  • When certain products or services are banned.

While it is usually necessary that some burden is placed on business for regulation to achieve objectives, where regulation is poorly designed or written, or it is not administered or enforced well, it may impose greater burdens than necessary. In reviewing existing regulation, it is those regulatory burdens that can be considered ‘unnecessary’ that are of primary interest.

Types of Unnecessary Regulatory Burdens

  • excessive coverage by regulation – that is, the regulation affects more economic activity than was intended or required to achieve its objective (includes ‘regulatory creep’);
  • subject-specific regulation that covers much the same issues as other generic regulation;
  • prescriptive regulation that unduly limits flexibility such as preventing businesses from:
    – using the best technology;
    – making product changes to better meet consumer demand;
    – meeting the underlying objectives of regulation in different ways;
  • overly complex regulation;
  • unwieldy license application and approval processes, excessive time delays in obtaining responses and decisions from regulators;
  • requests to provide more information than needed requests to provide the same information more than once;
  • rules or enforcement approaches that inadvertently result in businesses operating in less efficient ways;
  • unnecessarily invasive regulator behavior, such as overly frequent inspections or irrelevant or duplicative information requests; an overlap or conflict in the activities of different regulators;
  • inconsistent application or interpretation of regulation by regulators.