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Integrating the policy agendas of Better Regulation and Sustainable Development in Regulatory Impact

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Title: Integrating the policy agendas of Better Regulation and Sustainable Development in Regulatory Impact


1
Integrating the policy agendas of Better
Regulation and Sustainable Development in
Regulatory Impact Assessment
  • Michal Sedlacko
  • Research Institute for Managing Sustainability
  • WU Vienna

2
A short terminological note
  • policy appraisal as the framing term RIA, SIA,
    evaluation (Turnpenny et al, 2009)
  • sub-field of public policy or a sub-field of
    evaluation research?
  • performance of appraisal systems judged on a
    number of criteria deregulation, compliance
    costs, better regulation, sustainable development
    (sustainability appraisals)

3
SD Governance and good governance
4
The governance background
  • normative concepts
  • good governance ? better regulation ? RIA
  • sustainable development
  • other governance dimensions
  • knowledge-based governance
  • multi-level governance
  • network governance and new governance
  • deliberative governance
  • governance by evaluation

5
Governance for SD 1
  • The major governance challenges raised in Agenda
    21
  • Integrating environment and development in
    decision-making (chapter 8)
  • Increasing the coherence of policies between
    different jurisdictions (chapters 8, 38f)
  • Strengthening the Role of Major Groups such as
    local authorities, workers or businesses (Section
    III)
  • Facilitating a long-term strategic perspective
    (chapter 8 and throughout the document)
  • Achieving all this by utilizing different types
    of information and knowledge for decision-making
    (chapters 35, 40)

6
Governance for SD 2
7
Linking principles of SD to good governance
8
Linkage at EU level
  • ECs impact assessment
  • a full IA is now required for all items in the
    Commissions Legislative and Work Programme
    (CLWP)
  • pursues objectives of better regulation
    necessity, efficiency, effectiveness, openness...
  • fosters horizontal policy integration and policy
    coherence as well as deliberation impacts in the
    economic, environmental and social domains,
    examines possible synergies and trade-offs
  • many shortcomings and slow improvement

9
Governance by evaluation
  • Multiple types of appraisals around the policy
    cycle, with varying roles of the evaluator
  • needs assessment, feasibility assessment, RIA,
    various IAs, accompanying evaluation, ex post
    evaluation, value-for-money studies etc.
  • Able to provide
  • legitimisation and justification of costs
  • conflict moderation
  • social and policy learning
  • However, neither procedurally co-ordinated nor
    having equal legal footing, no overall framework
  • New style of policy-making?

10
A brief introduction to regulatory impact
assessment
11
The RIA tool
  • RIA is a process that accompanies (and to some
    extent structures) policy development and
    supports decision-making
  • however, can be used also for regulation already
    in place (ad interim, ex post)
  • typically conducted by administrative staff
    (planners) and attached to the regulative
    proposal when submitted to governmental debate or
    decision-maker
  • numerous forms of output explanatory memoranda
    attached to legislative proposals, impact
    analyses, background studies, justification
    reports attached to policy proposals, fiscal
    statements…

12
Where does RIA come from?
  • quantification of administrative burdens of
    implementation, monetization of financial impacts
    on the state budget
  • technical assessment procedures (EIA, HIA, risk
    assessment) and their move upstream
  • good governance principles

current conception of RIA
13
RIA and regulation development
  • where is the border between RIA and policy
    development?
  • tasks such as problem definition, analysis,
    consultation, setting up of monitoring
    mechanisms, communication etc. are all to some
    extent already present in and understood as part
    of policy development
  • RIA becomes distinct through the examination of
    impacts
  • RIA should integrate (not duplicate) existing
    procedures into one coherent process

14
Pros and cons
  • Many advantages
  • better regulation
  • streamlined, formalised procedures
  • can ensure that all major interests compete on a
    level playing field (Radaelli, 2007)
  • fit into administrative culture enables to
    explore preferences between competing groups and
    regulators (who wants what)
  • receiving a lot of attention, especially at the
    EU level

15
Pros and cons
  • Risks and challenges
  • practicality vs. complexity having to deal with
    non-linear, indeterminate processes and complex
    causal chains and at the same time provide usable
    knowledge to decision-makers
  • sensitive to timing and political will
  • risk of strategic use
  • requires capacity
  • danger of formalism (then the meat is going to
    take place elsewhere)
  • institutional challenges stemming from
    cross-sectoral nature

16
Lessons from evaluation research
17
Purposes of an evaluation
  • Substantive rationales (Vedung, 1997)
  • internal and/or external accountability
  • basic knowledge advancement
  • intervention improvement
  • Strategic rationales (Suchman, 1972 Vedung,
    1997)
  • posture
  • postponement
  • eye-wash
  • ducking responsibility

18
The accountability purpose
  • accountability whether what was supposed to be
    done was done (summative function)
  • internal elected politicians hold the
    administration responsible for its actions
  • external citizens (or clients) hold elected
    politicians and their agents responsible for
    their actions
  • aspects of accountability (Rossi Freeman,
    1989) legal a., fiscal a., delivery a., coverage
    a., impact a., efficiency a.
  • the purpose of accountability to external parties
    calls for an external evaluation (greater
    credibility as objective procedures)
  • high risk that internal evaluator would focus on
    components that work well be reluctant to reveal
    negative results perform deceptive balancing
    (playing field for strategic behaviour)
  • external evaluator has more expertise and
    experience is less afraid of job loss has a
    reputation to care for

19
The improvement purpose
  • go/no-go, live-or-die decisions are relatively
    rare (due to vested interests) and therefore
    evaluation is rather used for improvement (Weiss,
    1972), i.e. formative function
  • evaluation should be internally conducted
  • evaluation is quick to initiate
  • achieves rapid learning (done by the same people)
  • there is no-one to conceal findings from
  • sound methodology is less important
  • better access to people
  • deeper understanding
  • the evaluator can facilitate implementation
    afterwards

20
The knowledge purpose
  • learning a meta-evaluation is an evaluation of
    one or more evaluations that intends to
    systematically establish their value and merit
    (Widmer, 2005)
  • primary potential audience (the users) are
    typically the evaluation community, academic
    researchers, public policy and administration
    institutes etc.
  • done externally by universities or research
    institutes (although can also be conducted
    in-house)

21
A case for theory-based evaluation
  • there is too little examination as to how the
    proposed regulation will be applied, enforced and
    monitored in practice
  • ? the evaluators need to
  • push the regulators to elaborate the regulation
    proposal in more detail
  • make the implicit assumptions and ideas of the
    regulators explicit ? theory-based evaluation

22
How sustainable development affects appraisals
23
Reflection of SD in appraisal 1
  • assessing and aggregating impacts occurring in
    multiple domains (holistic approach)
  • technical incommensurability
  • weak or strong sustainability? (substitutability
    of individual forms of capital)
  • variety of data collection methods
  • participatory observation, focus groups,
    elicitation of preferences through economic
    methods, mixed qualitative/quantitative designs
  • acknowledgement of values (SD is a normative
    concept)
  • long-term designs (long-term impacts)
  • perspective in many ways radically different from
    mainstream economics (limits to growth, human
    wellbeing, rationality of economic agents)
  • indirect impacts

24
Reflection of SD in appraisal 2
  • different and non-reducible viewpoints
  • social incommensurability, weak comparability of
    values
  • concern for public/stakeholder participation and
    deliberation
  • wider range of stakeholders involved in data
    collection or consultations
  • deeper involvement of stakeholders, up to the
    point of stakeholders framing the issues of
    relevance empowerment
  • dealing with different types of information
  • facts and values, quantitative and qualitative,
    expert and lay knowledge, insights and judgements
  • dealing with different territorial and temporal
    scales of ecosystems and social structures and
    processes
  • dealing with complexity and uncertainty shift
    from substantive rationality to procedural
    rationality and learning

25
SMCE/MSIA cutting-edge instruments in
sustainability appraisal
  • social multi-criteria evaluation (SMCE) and
    multi-scale integrated assessment (MSIA)
  • replace consultation as they are highly
    participatory and deliberative
  • process-oriented (iterative)
  • integrate various kinds of knowledge
  • clarify the role of expertise (discussion
    support/decision support)
  • stress on procedural rationality instead of
    substantive rationality
  • address complexity and uncertainty
  • address social and technical incommensurability
  • support comparison of alternatives

26
Considerations for an SD-supportive RIA system
27
RIA setup 1
  • central oversight unit fit into the structure of
    the central government (e.g. PMs office) or an
    independent agency, advisory council, perhaps a
    place for SD council or commission?
  • helpdesk
  • RIA units in every department (legal, economic,
    SD-related expertise)
  • horizontal network for exchange and cooperation
    especially relevant for SD
  • horizontal policy integration
  • (sectoral) peer reviews
  • stable personnel, administration of the network
  • external experts (researchers, consultants,
    auditors/evaluators)
  • peer reviews, peer review board?
  • national evaluation society
  • a body responsible for the RIA system and
    regulatory reform as a whole (inter-ministerial
    task force, audit agency, parliamentary
    commission)

28
RIA setup 2
  • requires not only changes in administrative
    procedure (streamlining of regulation
    development), but a change of incentives
    structures and policy-making culture
  • strengthening responsibilities RIA signed by a
    minister
  • give political weight to the central oversight
    unit
  • developing micro/meso/macro capacity is critical
  • ensure learning through ex post assessments and
    metaevaluations
  • regulatory planning/agenda opportunity for an
    umbrella national SD strategy (move upstream)
  • provide strategic SD frame ? identify regulation
    needs and conduct stakeholder analyses ?
    regulation development and RIA
  • would also simplify assessment of effects

29
Initiating RIA
  • Timing
  • … the RIA process has to start at the beginning
    of the regulation process, not after the
    regulation has been written out. (Flemish RIA
    guide)
  • timing of RIA may be more important than the
    methodology employed (Jacobs, 2006)
  • if IA occurs before modifications are made
    through inter-sectoral/public consultation and
    government debate, it loses objective relevance
  • Who should conduct a RIA?
  • Regulatory impact analysis is best carried out
    by the project team which is preparing the
    regulation. (Flemish RIA guide)
  • independence threat vs. insight sufficient
    capacity?
  • society-wide effects are outside of the scope of
    ordinary policy analysts and RIA environmental
    economists (Radaelli De Francesco, 2007)

30
Scoping RIA 1
  • how costly and time-consuming can a RIA be?
  • on the other hand, how formalised/flexible should
    RIA be?
  • importance of a given regulation should
    influence
  • the number of investigated options (including
    combinations of options)
  • the number and level (aggregation) of utilized
    assessment criteria and examined impacts
  • the minimum significance (magnitude,
    reversibility…) of investigated impacts
  • how far in the chain of effects should the
    analysis go
  • the extent of quantification
  • range of examined target groups/stakeholders
  • breadth and depth of consultation
  • the number of partial RIAs and supportive
    analyses

description of effects
31
Scoping RIA 2
  • importance of a given regulation should not
    influence
  • calculation of administrative costs
  • analysis of legal aspects of proposed regulation
  • making assumptions and hypotheses explicit
  • regulatory coherence
  • balanced consideration of impacts across all
    three domains of sustainable development
  • consideration of at least the zero alternative
    (basic justification for regulation)
  • communication and accessibility of RIA report
  • how decide on importance of regulation? (this
    procedure should be formalised)
  • monetary thresholds
  • qualitative criteria
  • screening through a first phase or a light RIA
  • opportunity for strategic use?

32
What methods for RIA?
  • Traditions of impact assessment
  • economic methods (monetization CBA,
    macroeconomic modelling)
  • difficult to foresee the extent of induced
    behaviour modification (despite of what
    neoclassical economists would want you to
    believe)
  • technical methods (scientifically proven
    pathways EIA, HIA)
  • often formal checklists (lists of impacts)
    needs regular review
  • expert judgment (decisions on complex issues
    shift from substantive to procedural rationality)
  • choice of experts is extremely important
  • Other recommended methods
  • participatory modelling, participatory
    scenario-building
  • social multi-criteria methods SMCE/MSIA
  • theory-based evaluation
  • multi-method designs

33
Is participation pursued to…
  • … elicit preferences or values in a process
    pre-structured by experts or
  • to explore different problem definitions and
    categorizations?
  • … improve regulation through accessing knowledge
    or is knowledge sought to legitimate decisions
    rather than shape action?
  • instrumental reasons
  • defuse conflict
  • provide knowledge
  • normative reasons
  • Aarhus ? good governance
  • substantial reasons
  • legitimisation of decisions

34
Issues to address
  • participation in what capacity as members of the
    public, as neutral experts or as stakeholder
    representatives?
  • different roles and rationalities
  • stakeholders issues of internal accountability
    and representation
  • what barriers to participation exist?
    (requirement of highly technical sector-specific
    knowledge, costs to participate,
    legal/institutional forms etc.)
  • risk of culture of institutionalised dependence
  • ? flexible and multi-track participatory designs
    to cover institutionalised stakeholders,
    regulation-specific marginalised groups and
    individual citizens, as well as their various
    information needs and capacity

35
Concluding remarks
36
Key messages
  • political dimension of RIA
  • motivation of politicians for adopting/resisting
    RIA, incentive structures and strategic use by
    administration
  • RIA is being introduced into environment which
    was not empty in addition to existing
    administrative procedure in regulation
    development symbolic exchanges, negotiations and
    coalition building, co-ordination, establishment
    of control structures (principal-agent
    relationships), strategic and symbolic use of
    knowledge, rent seeking etc. were taking place
  • expectations, usage and quality are linked

37
Key messages
  • there are lessons to be taken from evaluation
    research (e.g. on the internal/external character
    of RIA and its purposes, the political context,
    as well as theory-based evaluation)
  • SD constitutes a set of specific challenges the
    field of sustainability appraisal/SD evaluation
    addresses these issues (cutting-edge instrument
    of SMCE/MSIA)
  • design of consultation and participatory
    exercises is extremely important
  • making RIA to better serve SD concerns is an
    opportunity for overall improvement of regulatory
    reform processes
  • horizontal policy integration and policy
    coherence
  • upcoming challenge vertical policy integration

38
Thank you.
  • michal.sedlacko_at_wu.ac.at
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