Regulatory Impact Analysis: Decision Making

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Regulatory Impact Analysis, often called RIA, comes in various forms that reflect government’s agendas and policies. By using this technique, countries assess many things including administrative burdens and business impacts.

RIA can be called a decision tool. It helps governments take action by systematically examining impacts that may arise out of an action taken by the government. Looking at the results of the analysis, governments can decide if they should go ahead with the plan or tweak it a little.

Its role, design and objectives generally differ from country to country and policy to policy. In simple words, it is a decision method out of several decision methods. However, the fact that it gives reliable results has helped it become one of the most widely accepted decision methods. Many countries and organizations consider it a best practice to use RIA when making decisions.

A proper method of assessing and then taking decision in the light of the facts/research is followed by countries. Generally, the technique is similar in most countries; however, there may be a few differences.

The methods used by most countries, including OECD countries, can be broken into five categories explained below:


The person who has the understanding of the scenario is considered an expert. He or she has the power to reach a decision regarding the problem or scenario that is being discussed. Generally, a regulator or an external expert is selected for this purpose. An expert is chosen with care as he or she has huge responsibility.

The expert should be well experienced with an eye for things. Plus, he or she should be able to take decisions properly without being biased.


Decisions regarding future policies and other matters are taken with mutual consent. Stakeholders sit together to reach a conclusion in the light of the facts. It is taken care of that everyone is satisfied with the final decision and there is no coercion or forceful will involved.


The decision is taken with care making sure that there is no biasness involved. Those in power take decision with a bonafide view putting the well being of the nation and its residents first. If the decision may cause huge damages, it is not taken even if there is any sort of political pressure. This is why the decisions are generally taken by a panel and not individuals so that such risks are minimized.


In most scenarios, the verdict is taken on dependence on an outside model keeping the compliance issues in mind. Old cases and precedents are also considered.


The decision is taken purely on the basis of the facts found through the analysis that clearly defines the action parameters as per the established criteria.

Every decision stems from a mixture of these methods. The mix differs according to political traditions, administrative style, issues in hand and national culture. For example, the Netherlands generally depend more on consensus methods in comparison to other countries like the US that depends more on empirical methods.

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