What it is:
Regulatory data is information that must be provided by a company to a regulatory agency.
How it works/Example:
Protecting consumers is the main rationale offered by governments looking to regulate economic activity, and they try to do so in two primary ways. The first is by preventing market failures. For example, pollution is generally regarded as a negative externality that can't be properly accounted for in the marketplace. Regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were established in the U.S. to levy penalties against firms that pollute the ai water and soil.
The second way governments regulate markets is by evening out the distribution of information that tends to be asymmetrically distributed. For example, if your bank's balance sheet is overwhelmed with bad loans, it's in your best interest to have that information, but it's in the bank's best interest to keep it from you. In response to this asymmetrical information, the FDIC requires banks to submit regulatory data on a quarterly basis so the information can be disseminated to consumers. The process ensures that customers are confident in the entire banking system, making the whole industry function more smoothly.
Why it matters:
Though there are benefits to consumers from government regulation, there are also costs incurred by businesses in abiding by them. Measuring the exact dollar value of either the benefits or the costs to an economy is almost impossible, and the issue can be highly politicized.
There is a plethora of regulatory data available to investors and consumers. The following list is a small sample of the agencies created to protect the interests of people doing business in the U.S.: