Regulatory Impact Assessment: A Panacea to Over-Regulation?
Dunlop, Claire A.
Journal of Risk Research
Taylor & Francis
Donald MacRae offers a welcome and succinct intervention from an experienced regulation practitioner. MacRae argues convincingly of the perils of unchecked standard setting in the name of safety – the well known twin ills of additional burdens on industry and constraints on individuals’ liberty. While over-regulation in the name of safety may perhaps fairly be seen as Perrowian ‘normal accident’ of administrators’ encounters with uncertainty, MacRae rightly notes the unresolved and thorny questions about the legitimacy and accountability of those who ‘increase the safety ratchet’ whatever their motivation. Who are qualified to exercise these judgements? How do we ensure they can be held responsible for their actions (or inactions)? Recognition of this risk of setting the wrong standards has triggered two responses from within the standard setting community – specifically the work of UNECE WP.6 and INMETRO in Brazil. This commentary ponders what these nascent responses themselves imply for legitimacy and accountability and whether regulatory impact assessment offers a panacea to over-regulation.
European Research Council, grant no 230267 on Analysis of Learning in Regulatory Governance, ALREG.
Dunlop, C.A. (2011) 'Regulatory Impact Assessment: A Panacea to Over-Regulation?', Journal of Risk Research, vol. 14, 8: 947-950.