Regulatory policy

OECD expert meeting on Ex-post Evaluation of Regulatory Policies, 22 September 2003



These proceedings present papers and presentations prepared for the OECD Expert Meeting on Regulatory Performance: Ex post Evaluation of Regulatory Policies held in OECD Headquarters in Paris on 22 September 2003.

The Expert Meeting – together with a mapping of OECD Country practices in this area – was a first step in a project launched in 2003 by OECD’s PUMA Committee and its Working Party on Regulatory Management and Reform. The general motivation behind the project is the observation that there is little tradition and experience with ex post policy evaluation. This observation is particularly pertinent in the area of regulatory policies. Regulatory policies integrate many elements from other policy areas and have undergone significant developments in terms of scope and objectives over the last decades. As governments progress in the development of these policies, growing attention is being paid to their evaluation: Do regulatory policies deliver high quality regulation and better regulatory results?

The growing interest in answers to these questions reflects three inter-related developments emerging over the past few years: First, policy-makers involved in regulatory policies are being held accountable for the significant economic resources as well as the political capital invested in regulatory management systems now established in most OECD countries. Second, there is a growing interest in exploring how regulatory policies can be more evidence-based and supported by empirical findings. More evidence-based approaches to the assessment of regulatory quality allows for a review of the effectiveness of policy tools used in practice, for a review of their performance and for improving the design and implementation of the policy. Third, the move toward ex post evaluation is part of the progressive development of regulatory policies, complementing the current dominant focus on ex-ante evaluation.

Recognising the complexity of these issues, the project takes a pragmatic and gradual approach. As a first step, the Secretariat has prepared and circulated a questionnaire to OECD Member countries’ about their practices and strategies to evaluate regulatory tools and institutions. That is, it focuses on the practices and policies applied by governments to assess regulatory tools and institutions. (Alas, although there may be overlaps, the focus is not on assessing regulations themselves, nor on how particular regulatory tools and institutions are used or designed).

The Expert Meeting had four main objectives:

  • To present an overview of OECD Member Countries’ practices with the evaluation of  regulatory tools and institutions;
  • To present and discuss in some detail a number of selected country practices;
  • To present and discuss theoretical work done by academic and independent research institutes on possible approaches to the evaluating regulatory tools and institutions; and
  • To identify and prioritise focus-points for future work

The Expert Meeting was attended by a total of 72 delegates representing 32 delegations. Participants included government experts from OECD Member Countries, academics and independent experts as well as representatives from the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) and the Trade Unions Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC).
The Meeting coupled country-specific presentations with conceptual/theoretical presentations by academics or experts. Discussions were supported by papers commissioned by the Secretariat on assessment of RIAs, and the evaluation of regulatory oversight units, consultation mechanisms and independent regulators.

Discussions at the Expert Meeting showed strong interest and appreciation amongst delegates in the relatively “technical” and focused objective of this part of the project. However discussions also showed preferences to go beyond the evaluation of regulatory tools and institutions into broader and related issues on the “ex post agenda”, such as measuring and monitoring regulatory performance (i.e. data gathering and reporting strategies) and practices to review existing regulations.

In discussion about identifying preferences for future work, delegates focused particularly on three issues:

  • Finalising an inventory of practices and strategies to evaluate regulatory tools and institutions
  • Creating a taxonomy or classification of practices, which could indicate circumstances under which particular types of evaluation approaches would be appropriate
  • Developing and exploring selected methodologies in further details, i.e. the evaluation of Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIA) and the use of regulatory quality indicators.

In follow-up to the Expert Meeting, the Secretariat has launched additional work on the evaluation of a number of selected regulatory tools. It is expected that a final report to be published in late 2004 will include a consolidated inventory of Member Country practices to evaluate regulatory tools and institutions; a classification of different approaches to evaluate regulatory tools; and, based on this, a toolbox approach with operational guidance and methodologies on the evaluation of regulatory tools and institutions.

If you have questions on this project or wish to obtain further information, please contact Peter Ladegaard (email:; telephone: +33-(0)1-45-24-19-06).




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