A Rules-based Approach to Measuring Prescriptivity in Canadian Regulations

6 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2018 Last revised: 3 Feb 2019

See all articles by Wolfgang Alschner

Wolfgang Alschner

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

John Mark Keyes

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Peter Zachar

University of Ottawa, Common Law Section, Students

Date Written: October 11, 2018

Abstract

Legislative drafters follow formalized conventions when crafting statutory and regulatory texts. This article investigates how such conventions can facilitate rules-based information extraction. Using regulatory reform as a case study, we apply rules derived from legislative drafting to automatically measure prescriptivity in federal Canadian regulations. Prescriptivity, understood as a relative concept of commands in relation to permissions, is a key concept in regulatory reform as countries seek to adjust the administrative burden placed on their companies and citizens. Canadian legislative drafters express commands and permissions through standardized language. We measured prescriptivity by counting associated signaling terms across a corpus of 2300 Canadian regulations. The resulting prescriptivity scores meaningfully describe policy-relevant characteristics of regulatory texts. These scores provide a basic metric to inform regulatory reform and highlight the value of rules-based analytics derived from legislative drafting conventions.

Keywords: Legislative drafting, regulations, regulatory reform, prescriptivity, dictionary approach

Suggested Citation

Alschner, Wolfgang and Keyes, John Mark and Zachar, Peter, A Rules-based Approach to Measuring Prescriptivity in Canadian Regulations (October 11, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3264804 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3264804

Wolfgang Alschner (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

John Mark Keyes

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

Peter Zachar

University of Ottawa, Common Law Section, Students ( email )

Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
25
Abstract Views
353
PlumX Metrics