Government Regulations on Economic Enterprise

Governments develop and enact regulations to optimize economic performance. Regulatory action may directly or indirectly target and influence specific economic enterprise. These regulations include minimum wage laws, tariffs, nontariff quotas, tax benefits, employment requirements on foreign direct investments, and environmental protection requirements. Through regulations, governments facilitate economic activity and maintain a balance for optimal economic enterprise.

Government regulations economic enterprise minimum wage laws, tariffs, quotas, tax benefits, employment, environmental protection, shipping containers
Shipping containers in a port in Bukit Merah, Singapore. Governments use tariffs, quotas and other regulations to influence international trade and economic enterprise. (Photo by Chuttersnap; Public Domain)

Minimum Wage Laws

Minimum wage laws primarily specify the minimum level of compensation that should be given to employees. For instance, the minimum wage law in a state or country may be set to $20 per hour. In this example, the government determines that $20 per hour is the amount of money needed to satisfy at least the basic needs of employees. In a way, governments impose minimum wage laws to regulate economic enterprise to address the needs of employees or workers.

Minimum wage regulations impact the performance of individual organizations or economic enterprise. For example, a higher minimum wage corresponds to companies’ higher expenses for labor. This means that in economic enterprise, organizations would have to spend more for workers or employees, i.e. on salaries and wages. Thus, governments need to consider the potential impact of changes in minimum wage laws on the profitability of businesses and the growth of economic enterprise.


Tariffs are tax regulations that governments use to influence economic enterprise, particularly organizations’ importation of goods, such as food products from other countries. Governments can use tariffs to regulate specific commodities, such as agricultural products coming from one country. Other tariffs may discourage certain types of imported consumer electronics. In implementing tariffs, governments’ main purpose is to ensure that local or domestic businesses have a fighting chance against foreign companies, including manufacturers located overseas.

The availability of imported products in a market means competition against products from local companies. To support the growth and development of local businesses, governments use tariffs so that the prices of imported products fairly compete against those of local goods. In some cases, tariffs that lead to higher selling prices of imported products could reduce demand for such products. Thus, tariffs as regulations help establish market equilibrium by supporting local economic enterprise and influencing demand for and supply of products.


Quotas are used alongside tariffs to regulate imports. Quotas are non-tariff barriers to trade and are typically seen as non-financial regulatory requirements. A government could implement quotas that impose a ceiling or threshold amount for specific products imported in a particular industry. For example, quotas could limit the importation of cereals to 100 tons per year. Through quotas, government regulates the amount of products imported into the country, and supports local economic enterprise by limiting competition from foreign players.

Tax Benefits

Tax benefits influence economic enterprise in certain areas, regions, or industries. Governments can also use this regulatory measure to target specific industries or markets, such as the food services industry or the agricultural industry. The main purpose of tax benefits is to encourage the growth and development of businesses within the target industry, market, or jurisdiction. For example, tax benefits in the agricultural industry encourage more investment, production, and business growth that benefit farmers and farming firms.

In essence, tax benefits equate to tax reductions, which reduce the overall tax burden on economic enterprise. In this condition, businesses could grow faster. In using tax benefits, governments support economic growth and improvement by encouraging new investments and new businesses in the target industry, market, or area.

Employment Requirements on FDI

Employment requirements on foreign direct investments (FDI) frequently affect foreign companies’ hiring practices and human resource development strategies. For example, regulations may require foreign companies to follow employment guidelines for the purpose of improving the local economy. In this regard, governments can use employment requirements on FDI for the main goal of improving the economy while accommodating foreign firms. Through employment requirements, governments affect economic enterprise in terms of workforce development and the growth of associated industries or markets.

Environmental Protection Regulations

Environmental protection requirements are developed and implemented mainly for the purpose of protecting natural resources in an area, region, or country. These regulations affect economic enterprise by imposing limits on what business organizations can do and not do when accessing and utilizing natural resources. For example, in the mining industry, companies may be limited to operating only within a certain area, or limited to extracting only a certain amount of ore in a given timeframe. Through environmental protection regulations, governments can limit economic activity in industries that depend on or exploit natural resources.

Implementing Regulations to Support Economic Enterprise

Governments implement regulations to influence economic enterprise. These regulations include minimum wage laws, tariffs, quotas, tax benefits, employment requirements on FDIs, and environmental protection requirements, among others. In most cases, these regulations have the purpose of supporting the growth and development of local businesses and the economy. In addition, these regulations can support the protection and conservation of resources in the country. Furthermore, governments use these regulations, such as minimum wage laws, to improve the living conditions of workers. By using combinations of these regulations on economic enterprise, governments can optimize economic development, the growth of local business, and the improvement of quality of life.


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