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Greek Operational Programme Public Administration Reform 2007-2013. REFLECTIONS ON REGULATORY REFORM IN EUROPE Claudio M. Radaelli Professor of Politics, University of Exeter First meeting of the high-level advisory group, Athens, 26-27 September 2008. Regulatory reform: three tides.

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greek operational programme public administration reform 2007 2013

Greek Operational ProgrammePublic Administration Reform 2007-2013


Claudio M. Radaelli

Professor of Politics, University of Exeter

First meeting of the high-level advisory group,

Athens, 26-27 September 2008

regulatory reform three tides
Regulatory reform: three tides
  • Liberalization: creation of new markets brings in new regulatory tools and institutions such as independent regulatory authorities. Thus, liberalization has produced MORE regulation, not less
  • Domestic and multi-level regulatory reform sector by sector (trade, environment, telecoms,…) The second stage has produced MORE regulatory architectures, not less
  • The third tide is ‘better regulation’. This stage has produce MORE regulation of the administrative-regulatory process + targets

Pls note what Arie Halachmi said yesterday about the “tides”

better regulation
Better regulation
  • “Whole-of-government approach”(*): a new core governmental policy with its own actors and institutions
  • Tackles the life-cycle of regulations: policy formulation, enforcement, inspections, and evaluation
  • Based on procedures, not on the substantive aspects of regulation
  • Welcome to the world of …. meta-regulation

(*) OECD “From interventionism to regulatory governance” 2002.

better regulation toolkit
Better regulation Toolkit
  • Regulatory impact analysis (RIA)
  • Simplification of administrative processes and codification of legislation
  • Reduction of administrative burdens
  • Consultation standards / notice & comment
  • Use of market-friendly alternatives
  • Risk-based approaches to enforcement and implementation
  • Sustainability assessments of proposed legislation
  • Regulatory budgets
  • Regulatory agendas?
trends and questions
Trends and questions
  • There is a trend towards Better Regulation (BR) out there, certainly in Europe
  • But BR raises a number of questions
  • Risk of enthusiastic adoption (of better regulation ideas) without implementation (*)

(*) On impact assessment see: Jacob et al. “Improving the practice of impact assessment”, Radaelli “Diffusion without convergence”, Radaelli, De Francesco, Troeger “The implementation of RIA in Europe”

imagine that regulatory reform is like a mountain
Imagine that regulatory reform is like a mountain….
  • What is the mountain we want to climb?
  • Why do governments want to climb it?
  • What it the best approach to climb it?
  • How do we get civil servants and politicians to climb it?
what is the mountain there are some clouds on the mountain s top
What is the mountain? There are some clouds on the mountain’s top
  • Quantity or quality? They co-exist in current regulatory reform programs across Europe – arguably, the current tide has a focus on quantity rather than quality
  • Anyhow, what does “regulatory quality” help us to achieve?
  • What is the causal chain that leads from BR (our X) to the Y called quality (or is Y “less regulation” hence quantity)?
  • Hard for governments to identify Y and the causal chain and mechanisms that lead from X to Y.
  • Y is not always ‘efficiency’: If regulatory agencies and departments become more efficient this may mean more certificates, obligations, inspections… this may or may not be “quality”
looking for y how metrics help
Looking for Y: how metrics help

Dozens of caveats about indicators, yet…

  • Indicators dissolve ambiguity around the notion of quality
  • They reveal preferences
  • They contribute to the emergence of commitment, especially if they are embedded in processes

(Source: Radaelli and De Francesco Regulatory Quality in Europe, Manchester University Press, 2007)

why do governments want to climb the mountain
Why do governments want to climb the mountain?
  • To respond to competitiveness challenges
  • To erode regulatory capture and improve on the circulation of information beyond ‘the usual suspects’
  • To diffuse a new regulatory culture among civil servants
  • To increase regulatory accountability towards Parliament and citizens
  • To improve on evidence-based policy-making
  • To send signals out there
  • To exercise political control
what is the best approach to climb the mountain
What is the best approach to climb the mountain?
  • Presumptive: we know what the mountain is and have presumptions on how to climb it
  • Diagnostic:we need to study the mountain in country X before we set out to reach the top
  • Experimental? We do not know where the mountain is but we suspect that somewhere, in a network of actors involved in administrative innovation, there is knowledge of the mountain. We need to create a radar to collect innovation signals from this network. Better regulation becomes a radar (*)

(*) See the work by C. Sabel on governance and Sabel, C., & Zeitlin, J. (2007). Learning from difference: The new architecture of experimentalist governance in the European Union. European Governance Papers.

who does what
Who does what
  • In every country, there are those who talk a lot about the mountain, people like us, who clearly dominate the BR discourse. Some of us are presumptive folks, others want to do more analysis and diagnosis
  • But there are also people who have already started climbing, perhaps with their own tradition, myths, narratives of governance. Perhaps have little to do with “better regulation”. Perhaps some of them have never travelled to international meetings…..
  • Let’s talk to them!
  • Italy: RIA driven by a small community of OECD-exposed experts but simplification and other BR tools had already been developed by lawyers with their own domestic (neither Europeanised nor OECD-influenced) ideas
  • NL-Swe-Den: “consultation” BR-style advocated by people like us is landing on a tradition of “hearings” that pre-dates BR -> do we retrofit BR to these traditions or do the opposite?
vision sermons and praxis
Vision, sermons, and praxis

“We are like people who talk and write about movies all the time,

but we do not make the movies”

(Alessandro Natalini, designer of the Italian simplification program in the 1990s; email correspondence, Sept. 2008)

going experimental
Going experimental…
  • Jan-Sept 2008: some 150 EU-RIAs under way on EU regs that affect Greece.
  • This may be more useful in terms of experimental approaches than any OECD handbook or any high-level document that people like us may write……!
  • We need the BR radar that collects this “practical knowledge in the making” and diffuses it
  • Incidentally, this has BIG implications for how we train people on BR issues
last but not least
Last but not least
  • The incentives for the main actors
  • Politicians, senior civil service, and the business community
  • (and increasingly…. civil society organisations)
  • (and… elected politicians, see House of Commons, (2008) Getting results: the better regulation executive and the impact of the regulatory reform agenda. London: House of Commons Paper HC 474-I, Stationery Office.
how do we get people to climb
How do we get people to climb?
  • Why would politicians climb the mountain…..they want to win elections, not to engage in implementation of better regulation. They are often presumptive: they like to set priorities and targets – less keen on implementation (implementation failures show up after the next elections)
  • Why would professionals in public administration stop doing business as usual and ‘do’ better regulation? They are already copying with n-1 “innovations”, what do they get from n?
  • How do we get the business community to take notice of better regulation? Most pressure groups like their information monopolies
our discussion today
Our discussion today
  • No illusion of ‘plug and play’ better regulation: in some countries we do not have the preconditions for BR to take off
  • Need to think hard about problem definition – what is the problem we have with regulation? Who do we want better regulation for?
  • What are the theories on the basis of which better regulation is supposed to fix the problem? We talk about the results of better regulation, but we do not understand the mechanisms through which it works: how does BR “do” something to Y and what is Y?
  • Are we prepared to transform governance and to create administrative capacity?
  • Consideration of incentives in a reform where the economic and governance benefits come after the political costs of altering the status quo equilibrium

Research papers and ppt on better regulation:

This presentation arises out of current research for the project Regulatory Impact Assessment in Comparative Perspective, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK

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