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4 Examples of Red Tape

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Red tape refers to excessive regulations, rules and administrative processes. The term extends from the practice of various European nations of sealing official documents with red tape in the 16th to 18th centuries. The following are common examples of red tape.


Forms, processes and procedures that are needlessly complex. For example, a tax system with a large number of exemptions, exceptions and other complexities.


Processes that are slow, expensive and generally inefficient. This can be a drag on the economy of a nation.


The use of administrative procedures as a means of political control. For example, an organization where competing executives can impede each other by not approving things or by not processing administrative requests in a timely manner.

Malicious Compliance

Employees who obtain power by strictly interpreting rules and procedures such that administrative processes become hopelessly inefficient.
Overview: Red Tape
Excessive regulations, rules and administrative processes.
Related Concepts
Next: Administrative Burden

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