One way to boost the American economy might be simple: change the regulatory environment.

The Cato Institute released a new study, "Low-Hanging Fruit Guarded by Dragons: Reforming Regressive Regulation to Boost U.S. Economic Growth," that suggests smaller improvements over grand changes.

Optimistically, author Brink Lindsey states:

Despite today’s polarized political atmosphere, it is possible to construct an ambitious and highly promising agenda of pro-growth policy reform that can command support across the ideological spectrum.

In the study, Lindsey targets four areas of "regressive regulation," barriers that favor the well-off in regards to competition and market entry.

Occupational licensing, immigration restrictions, copyright and patent law, and artificial land scarcity (e.g. zoning) combine, in the guise of public safety or worker protection, to penalize economic growth and a more robust nation.

Those issues don't fall neatly along partisan lines. Nor do the changes require federal action.

Zoning laws and occupational licensing, notably, occur on local and state levels. Hope for a bipartisan push against onerous regulation isn't as farfetched as it might sound. Lindsey notes that an alliance occurred during the late 1970s and early 1980s to deregulate trucking, airlines, and railroads, along with price controls on natural gas and oil, among others.

The question of whether a revival of the deregulation spirit can happen remains unanswered.