Legislative risk refers to the tentative relationship between government and business. Specifically, it’s the risk that government actions will constrain a corporation or industry, thereby adversely affecting an investor’s holdings in that company or industry. The actual risk can be realized in a number of ways—an antitrust suit, new regulations or standards, specific taxes and so on. The legislative risk varies in degree according to industry, but every industry has some.
In theory, the government acts as cartilage to keep the interests of businesses and the public from grinding on each other. The government steps in when business is endangering the public and seems unwilling to regulate itself. In practice, the government tends to over-legislate. Legislation increases the public image of the importance of the government, as well as providing the individual congressmen with publicity. These powerful incentives lead to a lot more legislative risk than is truly necessary.