It has been three years since the launch of the inaugural edition of the Regulatory Policy Outlook. Since then, much progress has been made in continuing to put the world economy back on track; but a sense of malaise remains. Its causes and drivers are diffuse and not all economic in nature, but they are very much tangible. They have to do, to a certain degree, with the relentless and overwhelming pace of technological change that is transforming every facet of our lives. They are also rooted in the irremediable intricacies of our economies, connected via continuous flows that go beyond goods to affect people, services, capital, and data.

This has many consequences, in particular on the way countries develop and apply their traditional tools of policy making and regulation. Changing business models, quicker innovation cycles, relocation and even “delocation” of activities and more demanding citizens and consumers put pressure on policy makers and their institutions. They require of them to be quicker but attentive, protective but not restrictive, transparent and accountable, efficient in the use of resources, data and time of their constituents and coherent with what their peers in other countries do.

This second edition of the Regulatory Policy Outlook is published in challenging times. It reflects the dynamism of countries in improving and adapting the quality of their regulatory systems. It is also a timely reminder of the steps that governments can take to be more transparent, agile and evidence-based to respond to the needs of their different constituents. There is room for more meaningful engagement with various stakeholders and for more systematic evaluation to improve the quality of the laws and regulations that govern the everyday life of business and citizens. This, however, means that regulators need to adapt to modern times; it also means, inter alia, co-operating more systematically with their peers within and beyond borders to achieve their policy objectives and piloting new tools of engagement based on a greater understanding of behaviours.

As highlighted in the first edition of the Regulatory Policy Outlook, laws and regulations – together with taxes and spending – are essential instruments in attaining policy objectives. The job of ministries, regulatory agencies and oversight bodies in defining the rules of the game for all is becoming more daunting. If anything, the series of Regulatory Policy Outlooks should be on their table to help them find the better way going forward.

picture Angel Gurría OECD Secretary-General

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