Efficient provision of transport infrastructure is critical to economic growth. The long asset lives of much transport infrastructure indicates governance through regulation, rather than through contract or public ownership. This can ensure predictability in long-term relationships whilst preserving some flexibility to deal with changes in external circumstances.
The transparency created by a fully independent regulator is invaluable for ensuring sufficient investment is forthcoming, while maintaining reasonable conditions for user access. Discussion at the Roundtable focussed on how to achieve effective independent regulation and how to reconcile independence with the legitimate control of policy by the executive part of government.
Independent regulation is not seen as a universal default governance arrangement. Much of the discussion focused on when to regulate and when to rely on competition, even if imperfect, to drive efficiency. The discussions underscored that there are opportunities to improve performance significantly in the aviation, rail and road sectors, by learning from successful experience in improving governance structures in a range of countries.
The unique OECD peer review process has helped improve public policy. It assesses how countries manage the design, adoption and enforcement of regulations according to a conceptual framework. It ensures comparability while taking account of institutional and cultural differences across countries.
In the current circumstances of weak recovery, high unemployment and constrained room for manoeuvre by macro-economic policies, a robust regulatory environment is key to return to a stronger, fairer and sustainable growth path, said OECD Secretary-General.
In light of the recent financial crisis and the pressing social, environmental and economic challenges facing governments today, this conference offered a timely opportunity to redefine the agenda for regulatory policy with a forward-looking perspective.
OECD countries have made significant reform progress in recent decades, in fields as diverse as competition policy, health care and the environment. How have they done it? And why have reforms advanced in some places and stalled in others? This collection of essays analyses the reform experiences of the 30 OECD countries in nine major policy domains in order to identify lessons, pitfalls and strategies that may help foster policy reform in the future. While taking full account of the tremendous differences in the political and institutional settings in which these reforms were undertaken, the authors highlight a number of common challenges and potential solutions that hold good across both countries and issue areas. They show that the scope for cross-national policy learning is enormous.
The importance of such reform lessons is all the greater in the wake of the global financial and economic crisis. As OECD governments confront the challenge of trying to restore public finances to health without undermining the recovery, they will need to pursue a careful mix of fiscal policies and growth-enhancing structural reforms. Designing, adopting and implementing such a policy mix will require the crafting of effective reforms and effective strategies for implementing them.
Presenting this report in Rome, Angel Gurría said that Italy has made significant progress in cutting regulatory costs, liberalising product markets and modernising its public administrations in recent years. He added that Italy must continue along the path of regulatory reform to make its economy more competitive and speed up its recovery from the economic crisis.
We expect governments to protect citizens from the adverse consequences of hazardous events. At the same time it is not possible or necessarily in the best interest of citizens for all risks to be removed. A risk-based approach to the design and implementation of regulation can help to ensure that regulatory approaches are efficient, effective and account for risk/risk tradeoffs across policy objectives. Risk-based approaches to the design of regulation and compliance strategies can improve the welfare of citizens by providing better protection, more efficient government services and reduced costs for business. Across the OECD there is great potential to improve the operation of risk policy as few governments have taken steps to develop a coherent risk governance policy for managing regulation.
This publication presents recent OECD research and analysis on risk and regulatory policy. The chapters discuss core challenges today. They offer measures for developing, or improving, coherent risk governance policies. Topics include: challenges in designing regulatory policy frameworks to manage risks; different cultural and legal dimensions of risk regulatory concepts across OECD; analytical models and principles for decision making in uncertain situations; key elements of risk regulation and governance institutions; the use of management-based regulation to help firms make risk-related behavioural changes; an analysis of the risk-based frameworks of regulators in five OECD countries (Australia, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, United Kingdom) and across four sectors: environment, food safety, financial markets and health and safety; and the elements for designing formal guidelines for risk prioritisation, assessment, management and communication.
This review of regulatory reform in Australia comes at the right time to capture the attention of the OECD community. Australia has successfully weathered the worst effects of the current economic crisis. The resilience of the Australian economy, in the face of the deepest and most widespread recession in over fifty years in OECD countries, can in part be attributed to Australia’s current and past regulatory reforms.
Australia has built strong governance foundations for the development of good regulatory management and competition policies, which are likely to be conducive to economic growth. It aims to reinvigorate a wide agenda of national reforms and to embed past reform achievements in new working arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States. This reform agenda is likely to yield substantial economic benefits for years to come, but demands joint participation and commitment from both the Commonwealth and all States. Maintaining the momentum for reform is a critical challenge, which requires a strategic vision as well as strenuous efforts to promote change and to establish a culture of continuous regulatory improvement.
Australia is one of many OECD countries to request a broad review by the OECD of its regulatory practices and reforms. This review presents a general picture , set within a macroeconomic context, of regulatory achievements and challenges, including regulatory quality at the Commonwealth level as well as across levels of government, competition policy and market openness. It also provides a special focus on Commonwealth-state relationships.
The OECD has established a set of key principles to guide financial policy makers as they look to fundamental reform that will achieve strong, resilient financial systems that play their part in driving economic growth.
China has made enormous progress in developing the modern legal and regulatory foundation for the market economy. The private sector is now the main driver of growth, and new laws have gone a long way toward establishing private property rights, competition, and mechanisms for entry and exit comparable to those of many OECD countries. At the same time important challenges remain, including further clarification of the scope of state ownership, reform of relations among central and local governments, firmer establishment of the rule of law, and strengthening of regulatory institutions and processes.
This review of China's regulatory system focuses on the overall economic context for regulatory reform, the government’s capacity to manage regulatory reform, competition policy and enforcement, and market openness. The review also examines the regulatory framework in the electricity, water and health care sectors. As for OECD countries, the review follows a multidisciplinary and highly interactive approach. A number of OECD instruments and policies are used in this assessment, although the review also takes into account the specific challenges faced by the Chinese authorities. The review includes a comprehensive set of policy recommendations.