The federal regulation and state enterprise (FRASE) index ranks the 50 states and the District of Columbia according to the impact of federal regulation on the private-sector industries in each state’s economy. A ranking of 1 indicates the highest level of impact of federal regulation on a state’s economy, whereas a ranking of 51 means the lowest.

For several decades, the federal government has relied on regulations as the primary vehicle to intervene in economic activity across the United States. The continual buildup of regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations, shown in the figure below, is known as regulatory accumulation. The FRASE index is designed to quantify the effects of regulatory accumulation at the state level.

 

Figure 1. Accumulation of Federal Regulatory Restrictions, 1970–2016

Federal regulations can affect each state differently because every state’s economy comprises a unique mix of industries. Federal regulations often target a specific industry, which in turn means that the states where that industry is relatively important will be affected more by those targeted regulations. A state’s FRASE score represents the degree of impact federal regulations have on a state’s economy relative to federal regulations’ impact on the national economy.

The constant-basis score is perhaps the most important figure for a state from the FRASE index. A state’s constant-basis score shows how the state has been affected by federal regulatory accumulation since 1997, taking into account both the changes in the level of federal regulation and the changes in the mix of industries for each state. The higher a state’s constant-basis score, the more a state is affected by federal regulations relative to the rest of the nation. Click here (PDF download) to see specifically how a state’s constant-basis score is calculated, and see table 1 for a complete list of constant-basis scores.

 

Table 1. 2015 Constant-Basis FRASE Scores

state score rank
Louisiana 2.81 1
Alaska 2.37 2
Wyoming 2.34 3
Montana 2.04 4
Nebraska 1.93 5
Indiana 1.89 6
West Virginia 1.85 7
Alabama 1.81 8
Mississippi 1.78 9
South Dakota 1.76 10
Texas 1.74 11
Kentucky 1.74 12
Georgia 1.73 13
Arkansas 1.71 14
Kansas 1.71 15
Oklahoma 1.70 16
Iowa 1.68 17
Utah 1.65 18
North Carolina 1.63 19
Idaho 1.61 20
Pennsylvania 1.61 21
South Carolina 1.60 22
New York 1.59 23
Illinois 1.57 24
Ohio 1.57 25
Tennessee 1.56 26
New Mexico 1.56 27
Missouri 1.50 28
Minnesota 1.48 29
Washington 1.47 30
North Dakota 1.46 31
Colorado 1.45 32
California 1.44 33
Hawaii 1.44 34
Wisconsin 1.43 35
Michigan 1.43 36
New Jersey 1.42 37
District of Columbia 1.42 38
Delaware 1.41 39
Connecticut 1.37 40
Virginia 1.37 41
Maryland 1.36 42
Arizona 1.35 43
Massachusetts 1.34 44
Florida 1.32 45
Maine 1.32 46
Vermont 1.30 47
Oregon 1.23 48
Rhode Island 1.22 49
Nevada 1.20 50
New Hampshire 1.10 51

 

Tables 2 and 3 show the states that have had the greatest increases and decreases in their constant-basis FRASE scores from 2014 to 2015, or in other words, the states that have been the most and the least affected by the change in federal regulations between 2014 and 2015—the two most recent years we have data for.

 

Table 2. States with the Greatest Increase from 2014 to 2015

state percent change in constant-basis score
Wyoming 17.26
Alaska 16.49
Oklahoma 15.22
North Dakota 12.97
Texas 11.60

 

Table 3. States with the Greatest Decrease from 2014 to 2015

state percent change in constant-basis score
Ohio −3.09
Idaho −2.30
Maine −1.64
New Jersey −1.32
Kentucky −1.14

 

The current-basis FRASE score shows how much a state is affected by federal regulations for any given year, ignoring the historical trend of regulatory accumulation. A current-basis FRASE score of 1 means that federal regulations affect a state to precisely the same degree that they affect the nation as a whole. A current-basis FRASE score greater than 1 means that federal regulations have a greater impact on the state than on the nation, and a current-basis FRASE score of less than 1 means that federal regulations have a lesser impact on the state than on the nation.

For example, Louisiana has a current-basis FRASE score of 1.81, the highest score in this year’s FRASE index. This means that, in 2015, Louisiana’s private-sector economy was targeted by federal regulations 81 percent more than the national average. The lowest score in the FRASE index belongs to New Hampshire, with a score of 0.70, meaning the state was targeted 30 percent less than the national average. Click here (PDF download) to see specifically how a state’s current-basis FRASE score is calculated, and see table 4 for a complete list of these scores.

 

Table 4. 2015 Current-Basis FRASE Scores

state score rank
Louisiana 1.81 1
Alaska 1.53 2
Wyoming 1.50 3
Montana 1.31 4
Nebraska 1.24 5
Indiana 1.22 6
West Virginia 1.19 7
Alabama 1.17 8
Mississippi 1.15 9
South Dakota 1.13 10
Texas 1.12 11
Kentucky 1.12 12
Georgia 1.11 13
Arkansas 1.10 14
Kansas 1.10 15
Oklahoma 1.10 16
Iowa 1.08 17
Utah 1.06 18
North Carolina 1.05 19
Idaho 1.04 20
Pennsylvania 1.04 21
South Carolina 1.03 22
New York 1.02 23
Illinois 1.01 24
Ohio 1.01 25
Tennessee 1.01 26
New Mexico 1.00 27
Missouri 0.97 28
Minnesota 0.95 29
Washington 0.94 30
North Dakota 0.94 31
Colorado 0.93 32
California 0.93 33
Hawaii 0.93 34
Wisconsin 0.92 35
Michigan 0.92 36
New Jersey 0.92 37
District of Columbia 0.92 38
Delaware 0.91 39
Connecticut 0.88 40
Virginia 0.88 41
Maryland 0.88 42
Arizona 0.87 43
Massachusetts 0.86 44
Florida 0.85 45
Maine 0.85 46
Vermont 0.84 47
Oregon 0.79 48
Rhode Island 0.79 49
Nevada 0.77 50
New Hampshire 0.71 51

 

The FRASE index pairs well with many other products produced by the Program for Economic Research on Regulation at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, especially those products that use the North American Industry Classification System. To find out how other Mercatus products can be combined with FRASE to give an overarching view of a state’s regulatory environment, see this more comprehensive regulatory analysis of Kentucky. Finally, click here to find information about the 2016 FRASE Index, the first edition of the FRASE project.