Regulatory policy

Regulation and emerging technologies


Emerging technologies are fundamentally transforming the way we live and work together. It has consequences for the well-being and cohesion of society as a whole; as well as deep impacts for businesses in all sectors, through effects on productivity, employment, skills, income distribution, trade and the environment.


Governments and regulators play a major role in encouraging digital innovation and in incentivising the development of these technologies for the benefit of society. They can foster broad public and consumer interests and limit any potential unintended negative consequences of these developments by providing general rules that reflect societal values and preferences. Often, however, regulatory frameworks lack the agility to accommodate the increasing pace of technological developments. Digital technologies also challenge deeply the way governments regulate: by blurring the traditional definition of markets; challenging enforcement; and by transcending administrative boundaries domestically and internationally. In a nutshell, governments confronted with a dilemma: how to enable innovation and accommodate technology-driven disruption while ensuring a sufficient level of protection for people and business and the public interest at large?

Conference on governance innovation

Moreover, a great benefit of the digital transformation is for governments themselves to seize its opportunities to increase their regulatory capacity, foster innovation and promote public interest. As illustrated by the various technological solutions implemented across countries to improve regulatory capacity during the COVID-19 crisis, digital technologies offer new approaches to resource-constrained governments and regulators for more effective and efficient rulemaking in the face of drastic international challenges. In turn, this could support more agile and refined regulatory and other approaches to frame the diffusion of new technologies.


To help policy makers navigate the domestic and international regulatory opportunities and challenges of digitalisation and support them in their consideration of regulatory response, the OECD Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) and the Network of Economic Regulators (NER) are developing a joint programme of work structured around two pillars: 

  • The regulatory challenges raised by emerging technologies and the regulatory responses
  • The opportunities provided by technological advances to develop better and faster regulations


Building on the analytical work and data collection developed under this programme of work, the RPC will develop a set of principles on effective and innovation-friendly rule making in the fourth industrial revolution. In addition, RPC and the NER will look at the ways in which the digital transformation can be used by governments and regulators to develop innovative and data-driven regulatory approaches.




Conferences, workshop and seminars


Relevant links



For further information, please contact Miguel Amaral and Céline Kauffmann.


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