Do U.S. Regulators Listen to the Public?


Regulators get piles of comment letters on proposed rules. But do the comments have an affect? Three math and finance professors tried analyzed the text of comments and regulations to find and answer.

Andrei A. Kirilenko, Shawn Mankad, and George Michailidis created a regulatory analytical tool called RegRank. The three researchers pointed RegRank at the CFTC and the 104 proposed rules the commission issued between January 2010 and September 2013. Those proposed rules resulted in 60,000 comment letters and 67 final rules.

The researchers used RegRank to rate a particular proposed rule, final rule and comments as pro-regulation or anti-regulation.  Then they use the tool to characterize how the CFTC rules evolved.

The data indicates that the regulators adjust the rules based on comments.

reg rank

There is a general pattern of a proposed rule becoming more in line with the calculated sentiment of the comment letters when it becomes a final rule.