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Getting to Grips with Regulatory Quality: Definitions and Measures

Professor Claudio Radaelli
Bradford University
Email: C.Radaelli@Bradford.ac.uk| 

: 16 March 2004
: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
: CARR Seminar Room, H615


Recent regulatory reforms in Europe have focused on 'good regulation' and 'regulatory quality'. Yet policy-makers who have sought to import specific instruments and 'new' approaches to law-making from their original Anglo-Saxon context to other European contexts have found it difficult to scratch below the surface of new public management rhetoric and implement successful programmes. One reason for that is that the notions of quality that circulate in the current debate are insensitive to context. Another is that 'success' means different things to the politician, the bureaucrat, and the technocrat. This paper - focused on regulatory impact assessment, RIA - explains the diffusion of RIA in continental European countries by using as explanatory variables 'context' and the interaction between different logics in RIA. Context, in turn, has four dimensions.

The first dimension deals with institutional and administrative context. The difference between the US and European context account for hybridisations and changes in the diffusion of RIA in Europe. The second dimension is territorial. In the EU, the territorial dimension of RIA is associated to multi-level governance. Drawing on similarities and differences between US regulatory federalism and EU multilevel regulatory governance, the paper will highlight the limitations, trade-offs, and dilemmas faced by impact assessment in the EU. The third contextual dimension refers to the theory of the policy process and the role of the three logics therein. Most European RIA programmes are based on a simplistic rational-synoptic view of the policy process. Although Bayesian learning could provide a solid foundation of RIA programmes, most European guides to impact assessment and the new Commission's system of integrated impact assessment are still based on incomplete models of regulatory politics and learning. The fourth dimension arises out of the balance between methodology, efficiency, and legitimacy.

More info: Full paper| (PDF) and Presentation| (PowerPoint)