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Better Regulatory Impact Assessment

Making Behavioural Insights Work for the Commission's New Better Regulation Strategy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Kai P.- Purnhagen
Affiliation:
Wageningen University
Peter H. Feindt
Affiliation:
Wageningen University

Extract

The European Commission's (Commission) Better Regulation Strategy (BRS) is the major guideline for the Commission to assess legislation. It draws on regulatory impact assessment (RIA) via cost–benefit analysis (CBA), expert advice, and simplification in EU law–making. Yet, the practice of RIA by the Commission as well as in EU member states, while unavoidably incomplete, has shown avoidable shortcomings. The Commission's New Better Regulation Strategy of 2015 (NBRS) contains language that appears to address these shortcomings. If pursued consequentially, it would require an approach that resembles what has been called responsive behavioural regulation. At the same time, global initiatives from inter alia the World Bank emerge to include behavioural insights into policy analysis in the form of responsive regulation. This piece assesses potential models of RIA that can help to articulate the behavioural assumptions which are implied by NBRS as enshrined in the policy document “Better regulation for better results”. The methodological implications of the NBRS require a significant departure from the reliance on classical CBA, which is characteristic for the previous “Better Regulation” documents submitted by the Commission and which we term Old Better Regulation Strategy (OBRS).

Type
Special Issue on the Better Regulation Package
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015

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References

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7 Commission, supra, note 3.

8 See Commission Communication - Better Regulation for Growth and Jobs in the European Union, COM 2005 97 final; Commission Communication Smart Regulation in the European Union, COM 2010 543final. We may view the documents accompanying the “simplification agenda” also as part of “Old Better Regulation”, see Commission Communication Action Programme for Reducing Administrative Burdens in the European Union, COM(2007) 23 final and particularly its accompanying document SEC(2007) 84, which stipulates the most detailed requirement of RIA at the Union level from the Commission's perspective.

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10 Cf. Mandelkern Group on Better Regulation, Final Report, 13 November 2001, p. 20.

11 Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament - Better Regulation for Growth and Jobs in the European Union, COM/2005/0097 final, p. 5.

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13 Smismans, StijnPolicy Evaluation in the EU: The Challenges of Linking Ex Ante and Ex Post Appraisal”, European Journal of Risk Regulation 2015, p. 11 Google Scholar. Smismans also gives splendid account of the respective policy instruments to assess evaluation in the EU, their impact and application in practice, which for this reason do not need to be recalled here.

14 Wiener, supra, note 2, at p. 452.

15 Wiener, supra, note 2.

16 See the summary at Wiener, supra note 2, at p. 474.

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22 Id, pp. 198 et seqq.

23 Such a case would in essence touch upon the issue of transferring of powers as decided on a similar issue in the “Meroni” case of the ECJ, see Case 9/56 Meroni v High Authority [1957 and 1958] ECR 133.

24 This is also emphasised in the Commission's NBRS, supra, note 3, p. 3 “Better Regulation … can never replace political decisions.”

25 Commission, supra, note 3, p. 6.

26 Art. 35 CFR.

27 Art. 38 CFR.

28 Art. 37 CFR.

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30 Jolls, Sunstein, Thaler, supra, note 20.

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35 Commission, supra, note 3.

36 At least with respect to fundamental rights, see Commission, supra, note 3, p. 6.

37 Commission Communication Smart Regulation in the European Union, COM 2010 543final.

38 See Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament - Better Regulation for Growth and Jobs in the European Union, COM/2005/0097 final, p. 5.

39 Martin Führ and Kilian Bizer, “REACh as a paradigm shift in chemical policy - responsive regulation and behavioural models.” 15 Journal of Cleaner Production (2007), pp. 327 et seqq.; Kilian Bizer and Martin Führ, “Sustainable Behavioral Governance: Responsive Regulation for Innovation” sofia-Diskussionsbeiträge zur Institutionenanalyse Nr. 15-2, 2015. Bizer, Kilian and ühr, Martin, “Sustainable Behavioural Governance: Responsive Regulation for Innovation”, in: Frank Beckenbach and Walter Kahlenborn (eds.), New Perspectives for Environmental Policies Through Behavioural Economics (New York et al: Springer, 2015), pp. 277 et sqq. Google Scholar

40 Kilian Bizer and Martin Führ, “Kompaktleitfaden: Praktisches Vorgehen in der interdisziplinären Institutionenanalyse” sofia- Diskussionsbeiträge 17-7, available on the internet at <http://www.sofia-darmstadt.de/fileadmin/Dokumente/Diskussion/2014/Netzversion_Stufenheuristik.pdf> (last accessed on 1 July 2015).

41 Steps 2 and 3 are influenced by Herbert Simon's insights into the importance of ‘bounded rationality’ and ‘satisficing’ (rather than utility–maximising) behaviour.

42 Step 4 relates to insights from, inter alia, social psychology and the sociology of everyday decisions.

43 For example impulsive purchasing behaviour, but also anger in the face of unwanted regulation. The role of emotions in the formulation and implementation of public policy is underresearched. 44 As for example shown in game experiments where participants forfeit own utility to enforce fairness norms.

45 E.g., in the SEBEROC project on responsive regulation of products containing nanomaterials, see: Bernd Steffensen, Nicola Below, Peter H. Feindt, Joop de Boer, Elizabeth Vogelezang–Stoute, Manfred Klade, Armin Spoek, Riina Pelkonen and Helena Valve, “Simulating and Evaluating a Better Regulation of Converging Technologies – project report”, available on the internet at http://dare.ubvu.vu.nl/handle/1871/48950 (last accessed 1 July 2015).

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