Cutting Red Tape

1997-6674 (online)
1997-6666 (print)
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This series examines how governments can reduce red tape in their administrations.  Some of the reports are country-specific, and some look at various issues across a number of countries.
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Cutting Red Tape

Cutting Red Tape

National Strategies for Administrative Simplification You do not have access to this content

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28 Nov 2006
9789264029798 (PDF) ;9789264029781(print)

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Red tape is burdensome to companies,  inhibits entrepreneurship, and reduces competitiveness.  This book examines country strategies and tools for reducing red tape and the institutional frameworks set up to reduce red tape, and finds what the trends are and what strategies are working. 
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  • Summary
    Administrative burden reduction policies are a priority on the political agenda. The removal of measures of direct state control constitutes the main source of regulatory improvement between 1998 and 2003. Now the emphasis falls on measures to remove barriers to trade, investment and entrepreneurship. This puts administrative simplification in the broader context of policies to enhance performance and productivity. There is a risk that administrative regulations that are outdated or poorly designed could impede innovation and establish barriers to entry, creating unnecessary barriers to trade, investment and economic efficiency. Administrative burdens refer to regulatory costs in the form of asking for permits, filling out forms, and reporting and notification requirements for the government. Red tape is particularly burdensome to smaller businesses and may act as a disincentive to new business start-ups. These effects are more costly in global markets, where business competitiveness can be affected by the efficiency of the domestic regulatory and administrative environment. A complete halt to regulation is not a viable option. The solution lies in the adoption of rigorous regulatory quality programmes, to create regulations that meet quality standards.
  • Simplification Strategies
    Administrative simplification is an integrated part of many governments’ regulatory reform policies and broader programmes for public governance. Simplification strategies focus on two dimensions: ex ante control of the burden introduced by new regulations (a flow concept) and the reform ex post of existing burdensome regulation (a stock concept). Some countries have strong ex ante strategies; others put their simplification efforts on the review of regulations ex post. The strategies outlined above are, however, not mutually exclusive and countries tend to use a range of strategies at the same time.
  • Simplification Tools
    Simplification tools aim at improving the management of governments’ information requirements to free time and resources of those affected by the regulation. In effect, they provide mechanisms by which government’s broad simplification strategies are implemented. These instruments also have the effect of improving transparency and accountability of administrative regulations.
  • Institutional Frameworks
    There is significant variation between countries in relation to the institutional or organisational framework used to achieve administrative simplification. These differences reflect, at least in part, different political and administrative arrangements within countries. Institutional arrangements are also included by the objectives being sought – issues such as whether simplification focused on particular areas, or is part of a wider regulatory quality agenda will influence institutional structures.
  • Conclusions and Future Directions
    Administrative simplification and reducing the administrative burdens imposed by regulations on businesses, citizens and other members of the community is clearly an important issue for OECD member countries. The 2003 report From Red Tape to Smart Tape: Administrative Simplification in OECD Countries provided an overview of the administrative tools used by a number of countries, a valuable contribution at the time. However, as demonstrated by the range of examples and experiences discussed in this report, administrative simplification is an area that has moved ahead rapidly since 2003.
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