OECD Regulatory Policy Working Papers

This series gathers together OECD working papers on the tools, governance and institutions of better regulation and their impact on policy outcomes. It includes both technical and analytical material, prepared by staff and experts in the field. Together, the papers provide valuable context and background for OECD publications on regulatory policy and governance.


Perceived Fairness and Regulatory Policy

A Behavioural Science Perspective on Government-Citizen Interactions

A great deal of research in psychology and policy studies has demonstrated that when citizens feel fairly treated in their encounters with government agencies, they are more likely to accept and comply with regulatory rules and decisions, to feel included in society and to trust their government. This paper explains how careful design of rocedures in the development and administration of laws and regulations and targeted training of officials can enhance perceived fairness and produce greater decision acceptance and compliance. It draws on a large number of empirical studies in different policy settings and countries to identify three key factors that drive perceived fairness: voice, respect and explanations. Successful programs to improve subjective justice must be built upon a foundation of objective justice: attempts to simulate fairness without actually providing objectively fair procedures tend to provoke very negative reactions when the true nature of the unfair process is discovered. Findings of this paper feed into OECD work on trust, open government and stakeholder engagement.


Keywords: compliance, enforcement, citizen, trust, regulatory policy, behavioural economics, appeal process, consultation, inclusive
JEL: E03: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / General / Behavioral Macroeconomics; D03: Microeconomics / General / Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
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