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Implementing regulatory innovations in Europe : the case of impact assessment

De Francesco, Fabrizio and Radaelli, Claudio M. and Troeger, Vera E. (2012) Implementing regulatory innovations in Europe : the case of impact assessment. Journal of European Public Policy, 19 (4). pp. 491-511. ISSN 1350-1763

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Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) has become a major tool on the agenda of regulatory reform across Europe. Although the literature on RIA is burgeoning, the comparative analysis of implementation has been neglected. This article draws on implementation theory to formulate expectations about the political costs and benefits of different degrees of implementation. Implementation ranges from political endorsement to the creation of central units in charge of regulatory quality and the production and publication of RIA results and methods. Our findings show that economic integration, the characteristics of the political system, economic resources, bureaucratic efficiency and pressure group activities play different roles in the various stages of implementation. We discuss the policy implications of these findings in terms of priorities given to different processes of regulatory reform and the demands that innovations like RIA pose on administrative capacity and stakeholders’ participation.