Annex A. Methodology

This annex includes a further description of the methodology used for the OECD Survey on the Resourcing Arrangements of Economic Regulators. It discusses the survey structure, focus, data coverage and process and presents a list of definitions used for the survey.

The survey is structured into four sections (Figure A A.1). The first section identifies general information on the functions of the regulator and quantitative information on its staff and budget. The second section covers human resource arrangements of regulators, such as recruitment, salaries and career development. The third section focuses on financial resource arrangements, such as sources of funding, the regulatory budget and financial management. Finally, a fourth section includes questions specifically on resourcing arrangements of multisector regulators.

The survey benefitted immensely from extensive inputs from NER members during the discussion of a draft version at the 15th meeting of the NER in November 2020. The report incorporates feedback from delegates on the preliminary survey findings as presented at the 17th meeting of the NER in November 2021 and the draft report as presented at the 18th meeting of the NER in April 2022.

The survey analyses the resourcing arrangements of economic regulators as of 1 January 2021. The analysis presents those arrangements that are in place as of this date, and does not consider any policy reforms, laws or regulations that were enacted after that date.

Where the survey analyses arrangements in place for staff, these arrangements concern managerial, technical and support staff, with the exception of members of the board and/or agency head. Arrangements specific to the board and/or agency head of regulatory authorities are outside the scope of the current survey.

The survey focuses on economic regulators within the OECD Network of Economic Regulators (NER) with a mandate in one or more of the following four sectors: energy, e-communications, transport and water. For the purpose of the survey, a regulator qualifies as a “single sector regulator” if it oversees only one of these four sectors, and qualifies as a “multisector regulator” if it oversees two or more out of the four sectors. A description of each sector, including relevant codes from the UN International Standard Industrial Classification of all economic activities (ISIC) is included in Table A A.1.

Where applicable, multisector regulators have been asked to specify their human and financial resource arrangements for each sector individually, as arrangements can differ between different sectors depending on the set-up of the authority. In the presentation of the results per sector, multisector regulators are included as part of the average for each of the sectors they oversee.

The survey was distributed among delegates within the OECD Network of Economic Regulators. Fifty-seven national and subnational regulators responded to the survey. Responses cover 31 countries, out of which 27 OECD member countries and 4 non-members (Albania, Brazil, Peru and Romania).1 For 17 countries, more than one regulator completed the survey (Figure A A.2).

For the purpose of the survey, four sectors have been identified (energy, e-communications, transport and water). The survey response includes 42 regulators that oversee one of these four sectors, and 15 regulators that oversee two or more sectors (referred to in this report as “multisector” regulators). In total, the survey data provides a balanced number of responses across the four sectors (Figure A A.3).

A majority of regulators responding to the survey are independent regulatory bodies. Out of the 57 regulators that responded to the survey, 51 regulators (89%) have an independent legal status and six regulators (11%) are ministerial departments or agencies (Figure A A.4). This finding could reflect the characteristics of participants within the NER, and may differ for the wider population of economic regulators.

A first draft of the survey was discussed with a select group of regulators that participated in a pilot in October 2020. After incorporating comments, an improved draft was discussed at the 15th meeting of the NER on 17 November 2020. Discussions and feedback from NER members supported the development of the final version of the survey.

The finalised survey was distributed in January 2021 among all the regulators that are included in the contact list for the OECD Network of Economic Regulators. Respondents were asked to return the survey within six weeks. The NER Secretariat provided an update on the survey response and next steps at the 16th meeting of the NER on 13 April 2021.

Along with the survey distribution, the NER Secretariat provided a list of definitions and a document with instructions to support respondents in their survey response. Where applicable, additional notes and instructions were provided for specific questions within the survey, to clarify the type of information and specifics that were requested. Respondents were able to provide additional information on responses in a comments field that was included for each question.

The NER Secretariat validated survey responses between April and August 2021. During the data validation, the NER Secretariat assessed whether responses adhere to the multiple choice options provided, and are accurate, consistent and complete. Moreover, the data validation was used to ensure the interpretation of questions was consistent across regulators. Where possible, public sources were used to verify answers. Where public sources were unavailable, answers were assessed based on their plausibility and consistency, making use of additional information provided by regulators in the comments section. In case of doubts or potentially incorrect answers, the Secretariat followed up with regulators to obtain further information or clarification. For most regulators, two rounds of follow-up questions were conducted to verify the survey responses.

Following the validation of survey responses, the NER Secretariat analysed the data to identify trends across regulators and regulator-specific examples of challenges and good practices. Preliminary findings were discussed at the 17th meeting of the NER on 17 November 2021 and a draft report was discussed at the 18th meeting of the NER on 6 April 2022. Inputs from these discussions, as well as written comments received after the meeting, have been used in the development of the report.

Table A A.2 includes a list of definitions used for the purpose of the current survey.


← 1. Since the survey took place in early 2021, the OECD has opened accession discussions with six countries on 25 January 2022, including Brazil, Peru and Romania. Brazil is currently an OECD Key Partner.

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