In this top group, regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) are well-integrated into the policy-making process, with needs analysis and consideration of alternative options a standard part of the procedure.
New Zealand’s very strong ratings are due to a new 2009 guideline requiring RIA for any legislative activity, part of an effort to streamline regulation. The USA and Finland have longstanding RIA policies, with the US executive and legislative branches each having expert bodies that assess budgetary and wider policy consequences of proposals.
RIA in the UK seems to have been downgraded in importance, with the responsible body moved out of the Cabinet Office, and some question as to the influence of RIA results.
In this group, RIAs are a regular part of the policy-making process, but the scope of assessment is occasionally narrow. Some ministries have significant discretion in calling for or determining the scope of assessments.
All countries but Switzerland have mandatory impact-assessment procedures, focusing most often on administrative, economic or environmental costs. Expert commissions tasked with drafting laws play a corresponding role in Switzerland.
Japan has seen a significant growth in the use of RIAs in the last several years. Pilot projects changing regulations in limited local areas will be used to strengthen citizen input.
Mexico has several well-organized assessment bodies, one of which has the power to negotiate with and influence state regulatory bodies. Ministers in Norway have the discretion to do extensive or limited assessments, but the parliament can send back proposals on the grounds of insufficient analysis.
In this group, RIAs are in theory part of the policy-making process, but are implemented sporadically or with little analytical depth.
While relatively new in Austria and the Czech Republic, RIAs are evolving into an increasingly powerful tool. Irish pilot projects have seemingly been successful, but critics question the influence of the analysis.
Assessments in Sweden, Canada and Italy are irregular and often lack analytical sophistication, though Sweden and the Czech Republic each made significant strides since the SGI 2009. Ministries in Portugal lack the research capacities for broad-ranging assessments.
Poland’s assessment requirements have generally been met only on paper, but the new government has sought to improve quality by increasing training, creating electronic analytical tools and performing RIA audits.
In this group, RIA quality is low, or countries lack a tradition of assessing the impact of proposed regulation.
In France, RIAs tend to justify rather than analyze proposed legislation. Spain has recently implemented a promising system, but it is too new to evaluate fully.
EU-derived guidelines were drafted but not officially adopted in Hungary, while RIAs are not obligatory in Slovakia. Mandates for RIA have come and gone in Greece, and are being implemented slowly in Turkey.