The primary focus of the Competitive Enterprise Institute since its founding in 1984 has been to promote deregulation. Government regulation of the economy blocks innovation and wealth creation. It also encourages damaging behavior such as rent-seeking and cronyism. Finally, it crowds out more effective forms of regulation such as market discipline.

The beneficial effects of deregulation were plain in the airline and freight rail industries. Deregulation begun in the Carter administration led to more flights at lower cost and to better rail infrastructure and much lower shipping costs. Yet, since the 1990s, successive administrations of different political stripes have piled on regulations, burdening the economy needlessly. We chart this problem every year in our Ten Thousand Commandments report.

The power of regulators now raises constitutional concerns. Regulators are often unaccountable, and their insulation from the checks and balances of the constitutional system suggests that they may in effect form a fourth branch of government. The use of guidance documents to avoid rulemaking procedures, for instance, can amount to government by decree. Deregulation is therefore essential to restore good constitutional order.

CEI advocates for both overall regulatory reform – changing the ways in which rules are made to make them more transparent and easier to remove – and for specific regulatory changes. Recent successes include recognition of our concerns in Executive Orders promoting deregulation and curtailing the use of guidance, and in the reflection of our comments in rules promulgated by agencies such as the Department of Labor and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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Kent Lassman

President and CEO

  • Capitalism
  • Deregulation
  • Innovation

Clyde Wayne Crews

Fred L. Smith Fellow in Regulatory Studies

  • Business and Government
  • Consumer Freedom
  • Deregulation

Ryan Young

Senior Economist

  • Antitrust
  • Business and Government
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Iain Murray

Vice President for Strategy and Senior Fellow

  • Banking and Finance
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Dan Greenberg

General Counsel

  • CEI Litigation
  • Property Rights

Devin Watkins


  • CEI Litigation
  • Government Transparency

David S. McFadden


Marlo Lewis, Jr.

Senior Fellow

  • Climate
  • Energy
  • Energy and Environment

James Broughel

Senior Fellow

  • Deregulation
  • Energy and Environment
  • Innovation