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Methodology

The Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance project explores how governments interact with the public when shaping regulations that affect their business community. Concerned stakeholders could be professional associations, civic groups or foreign investors. The project charts how interested groups learn about new regulations being considered, and the extent to which they are able to engage with officials on the content. It also measures whether or not governments assess the possible impact of new regulations in their countries (including economic, social and environmental considerations) and whether those calculations form part of the public consultation. Finally, the project measures two additional components of a predictable regulatory environment:  the ability of stakeholders to challenge regulations, and the ability of people to access all the laws and regulations currently in force in one, consolidated place.

The data presented here cover 185 countries: 46 in Sub-Saharan Africa, 30 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 32 in the OECD high-income group, 25 in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 25 in East Asia and the Pacific, 20 in the Middle East and North Africa, and 7 in South Asia.

The data paint a picture of consultation and assessment practices for national regulations affecting business activities, along with details on how such consultation and impact assessment take place. They also presents details on how and where the public can challenge regulatory decisions or access the laws and regulations on the books. Where different practices exist for different parts of government or special zones (for example, independent financial centers), the team seeks to present the most common practice for regulations affecting domestic business activities. Where there are variations in practice, the team notes that variation in the comments sections.

The data presented here were collected December 2015– April 2016. The data will be updated regularly to capture changes and evolutions in practice.

The Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance project is new. There may be nuances in practice that the team has failed to capture in the data collection. If you believe the content presented for your jurisdiction is not fully correct, or if you have questions about the project, please contact us at rulemaking@worldbank.org.

Questionnaire design

To collect data, a questionnaire was developed with input from academics, regulatory governance experts and government practitioners.

Particular care was taken to create questions that would apply to the wide range of countries included in the sample and would allow for cross-economy comparability of the data. Care was also taken to ensure the questions would be easily understood by the respondents.

Key terms are defined in the questionnaire. For example, “regulation” is defined as “any draft rule of general applicability proposed by an executive authority, ministry, or regulatory agency of a government, which if finalized is intended to bind any individuals or companies covered by it – such as subordinated legislation, administrative formalities, decrees, circulars, and directives – affecting business activities in your jurisdiction. The term also includes rules proposed by the government that require final approval by the parliament or other legislative body or by the head of state.” The breadth of this definition is intended to capture regulatory practices in multiple political systems and countries of different legal origins.

The questionnaire covers five core areas: publication of proposed regulations, consultation around proposed texts, impact assessment practices, mechanisms for challenging passed regulations and the accessibility of laws and regulations. It also asks for details on how certain practices are carried out, for example through unified websites or public meetings. The questionnaire touches upon the institutional set-up for regulatory practices and legal requirements. At the end of each section, respondents were given space to provide additional comments and clarifications.

Respondents were asked to report on actual practice, not only what is required by law.

Data collection process

The Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance questionnaire was sent to more than 1,500 experts in 190 countries worldwide. It was distributed in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic and English languages.

For 141 countries, experts from both the public and private sector contributed to the data collection. For 45 countries, the data come from purely private sector contributors. The team sought government input for all countries covered.

The questionnaires were sent electronically. The public sector respondents were civil servants identified as experts in their countries’ rulemaking process. The majority of the private sector respondents were corporate lawyers; however, respondents also included notaries, academics, and think tank researchers. Where necessary, the team conducted extensive follow-up by phone and email to clarify and confirm the data.

Data presentation and analysis

The team presents here the text provided by our local experts. Unanswered questions were coded as missing data points, and in the absence of a conclusive follow-up remained as such. The data presented are what respondents reported as happening in actual practice. Contributor were also asked about legal requirements for publication, consultation and impact assessment.

On a case-by-case basis, the text responses have been edited slightly to ensure readability and compliance with language standards.  

Quality checks

The team conducted several quality reviews of all the data collected. All the questionnaires were checked for internal consistency and logic of responses. Incomplete questionnaires were not used. The team members verified each website link provided by the respondents to ensure that the link worked and that the website held relevant data at the time the data were coded. In many cases the team also reviewed specific laws and regulations to independently verify the information provided by respondents.

If respondents from the same country provided contradictory answers, team members contacted the respondents to further inquire into their answers and assess potential reasons for the inconsistency. In the absence of adequate clarifications after the follow-up, new respondents were contacted and independent research was conducted to obtain reliable data. When the follow-up was inconclusive or the quality of responses remained weak, the country was dropped from the sample.

Scoring

To advance our analysis, the team developed a composite Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance score designed to explore good regulatory management practices in three core areas: publication of proposed regulations, consultation around their content, and the use of regulatory impact assessments. Each core area has multiple sub-components included in the overall score.

The score reflects whether regulators:

  1. Publish the text of proposed regulations before its enactment,
  2. Publicly request comments on proposed regulations,
  3. Report on the results of consultation processes publicly,
  4. Conduct regulatory impact assessments of proposed regulations,
  5. Have a specialized government body tasked with reviewing regulatory impact assessments, and
  6. Distribute the results of regulatory impact assessments publicly.

Also considered was how the government completes each action.

Two of the six component indicators (conducting impact assessments of proposed regulations and having a specialized government body tasked with reviewing regulatory impact assessments) have simple binary scoring: each economy receives a score of either 1 (the highest score) or 0 (the lowest).

For each of the other four component indicators the possible score ranges from 0 to 1, with the possible values including 0.2, 0.6 and 0.8. The score assigned to an economy depends on the level of transparency or inclusiveness reflected in how the government carries out the relevant action (if at all)—that is, publishing proposed regulations, requesting comments, reporting back on the results of the consultation or publishing the regulatory impact assessment. A score of 1 is awarded if the action is performed through a unified website, 0.8 if through individual ministry websites, 0.6 if through public meetings or publication in an official journal, and 0.2 if through targeted outreach to identified stakeholders; a score of 0 is assigned if the action is not performed. For each economy the highest possible score is assigned, even where the government uses a variety of different methods for carrying out the action. A lower score is awarded for targeted outreach to identified stakeholders because of the inherent potential for exclusion in this approach.

The composite score is the simple sum of the scores for the six individual components. Possible composite scores range from 0 to 6.

See the scoring methodology (PDF, 310KB)

Limitations

The Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance project does not measure everything that is important for a good regulatory system. For example, while the measures capture whether or not a government engages the public in consultation around proposed regulations, it does not capture the quality of such that discussion or the extent to which the comments led to a significant change in the resulting regulation. Additional investigation would be needed to better understand the quality of such engagements and their resulting impact.

In addition, the data collected here apply specifically to regulation affecting business activities. The team knows that many countries have different levels of transparency and engagement for different types of rulemaking. The team seeks to portray those diverse practices where possible, but that depiction may be incomplete.