Key findings of the 2016 Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance include:
Transparency and consultation
Among the 185 countries sampled by the Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance, 135 notify the general public of a proposed new regulation before its adoption. Most countries that give notice are either high-income OECD economies or located in the European and Central Asia regions.
Poorer countries have significantly less transparent and consultative rulemaking processes than their richer counterparts. Less than one-third of low-income countries notify the general public of proposed new business regulations and publish draft texts in a place where stakeholders can view them (on websites or in the federal register). This is compared to 81 percent of high-income countries. And slightly over half of the Sub-Saharan African countries (25 of 46) make texts of proposed regulations public before their enactment. This means that close to 50 percent of Sub-Saharan African governments and two-thirds of low-income countries fail to give voice to all relevant constituencies when designing new regulations, opening the process to capture and potentially undermining compliance once the regulations are passed.
More encouragingly, roughly half out of the sampled 185 countries (98) develop forward regulatory plans, publicizing at the beginning of the year all the changes that the government plans to introduce in the upcoming period. This includes 12 low-income countries.
Measures of regulatory transparency
Countries that publicly share draft texts of proposed business regulations for stakeholders to view, by region and income level.
Where poorer countries do engage the public for feedback before passage, they tend to do so through low-cost methods like public meetings rather than websites. Many low-income countries have some sort of web presence for rulemaking, but comprehensive web platforms are predominantly used in high-income countries. For those countries with active online consultation, they still overwhelmingly conduct face-to-face meetings as well. In these cases the internet is used to expand outreach to civil society and individuals who may have a stake in the new regulation, but the websites do not replace direct engagement with targeted groups. Participation through the use of online platforms also makes the dialogue with regulators more efficient, convenient and cheaper, especially for those who do not live in central urban locations.
How does the government notify the public of proposed regulations?
In many regions, it is common for government officials to proactively seek stakeholder input to the policymaking process. In 127 out of 185 countries studied, ministries or regulatory agencies request comments on proposed regulations. This is done through public outreach on websites or through public meetings, or by reaching out directly to known stakeholders. All high-income OECD economies, 85 percent of countries in Europe and Central Asia, and 76 percent in East Asia and the Pacific solicit feedback through at least one of these different means of communication.
Among economies that solicit comments on proposed regulations, around 60 percent do not make the comments publicly available.
Do agencies solicit comments on proposed regulations?
The ability for citizens and firms to engage with governments on proposed business regulations differs around the world, however. The Middle East and North Africa has the lowest regional level of transparency and engagement around rulemaking, with Morocco as a notable exception.
Overall, the data show that inclusive rulemaking processes are prominent in the developed world and sorely lacking among developing countries. Variation exists within each region and income group, yet aside from a handful of notable exceptions, many developing countries are still significantly lagging behind the advanced countries when it comes to better regulatory practices.
Consultation methods by regions
How does the government consult with public on proposed regulations?
Latin America has a clear divide between Caribbean and Central American countries, which tend to conduct only targeted consultation with identified stakeholders, and the larger regional countries with more systematic and open consultation processes (for example, Brazil, Colombia and Peru).