An Evaluation of the Quality of Impact Assessment in the European Union with Lessons for the U.S. and the EU

27 Pages Posted: 7 May 2007 Last revised: 3 Jan 2008

See all articles by Caroline Cecot

Caroline Cecot

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Robert W. Hahn

University of Oxford, Smith School; Georgetown University

Andrea Renda

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS); College of Europe

Lorna Schrefler

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

Date Written: December 2007

Abstract

Governments throughout the world are requiring greater use of economic analysis as a way of informing key policy decisions. The European Union now requires that an impact assessment be done for all major policy initiatives. An evaluation of the EU system could provide lessons for the U.S. and determine whether the EU is allocating resources for analysis efficiently.

This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the use of impact assessment in the European Union since its inception, using the largest available dataset. We score these assessments using a number of objective measures of quality, such as whether a particular assessment provides information on costs, benefits, or alternatives. In addition, we provide the first empirical evaluation of the EU principle of proportionate analysis, which calls for the application of more rigorous analytical standards to important policy initiatives.

In general, we find that recent EU impact assessments include more economic information, but many important items are still missing. We also provide evidence that the quality of EU impact assessment increases with the expected cost of the proposal, which is consistent with the proportionality principle. Furthermore, while we find that the average quality of EU assessments lags behind U.S. assessments, we cannot reject the hypothesis that the analysis done for important initiatives in the EU is of similar quality to the analysis done in the U.S. Finally, we offer concrete suggestions on how the EU and U.S. might improve their evaluation processes by learning from each other.

Keywords: European Union, impact assessments

JEL Classification: H00

Suggested Citation

Cecot, Caroline and Hahn, Robert W. and Renda, Andrea and Schrefler, Lorna, An Evaluation of the Quality of Impact Assessment in the European Union with Lessons for the U.S. and the EU (December 2007). AEI-Brookings Joint Center Working Paper No. 07-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=984473 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.984473

Caroline Cecot (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Robert W. Hahn

University of Oxford, Smith School ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

Georgetown University

Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Andrea Renda

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) ( email )

1 Place du Congres
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ceps.be

College of Europe ( email )

Dijver 11
B-8000 Brugge, Oost Vlanderen 10000
Belgium

Lorna Schrefler

Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) ( email )

1 Place du Congres
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

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