This is a relatively new webpage to which I am adding international data as I come across it. Contributions would be welcome.
Justin Webb, writing in The Times in August 2017, commented that "The libertarians squeal but here is the dirty truth: Americans like regulation". Others tell me - and my own experience suggests - that rules tend to be enforced more strictly than in the UK with less room for common sense. All types of law enforcement officers can often appear tyrannical to British eyes, and prosecutors, who have to run for office, can be over-zealous.
Justin Webb quoted some fun examples - interior designers need to be registered and take exams before they can offer their services in Houston, Texas. And a manicurist was fined $1,000 for washing hair in Tennessee without being licensed as a 'shampoo technician'. British travelers to the States also note that:
- young people cannot buy alcohol (unless with parental etc. permission) until they are 21 (UK 18, 16 with meals) - and I was ID'd at the age of 67!
- speed limits are typically 5mph lower than the equivalent in the UK
- jaywalking is often illegal. It is never illegal in the UK, apart from motorways.
On the other hand, Delaware is famous for having very lax company law. And it is pretty easy to buy and own a gun, so there are around 100 deaths pa per 1 million US citizens (including accidents and suicides). The UK figure is 1.
USA over-regulation might be behind signs that the US is over time becoming less entrepreneurial. New Zealand comes first in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Survey, well ahead of both the UK (7th) and the USA (8th).
More positively, Americans were well ahead of the rest of the world in developing what they call anti-trust and we call competition policy.