Reader’s guide

The data presented in this report, including the composite indicators, are the results of the 2014 and 2017 indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance (iREG) surveys, and their extension to the five EU Member States that are not OECD member countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus,1 Malta, and Romania.

The iREG surveys gathered information at two points in time: as of 31 December 2014 and 31 December 2017. Data for 2014 are from 34 OECD member countries (which include 21 EU Member States) and the European Union, which formed the basis of the 2015 Regulatory Policy Outlook (OECD, 2015[1]). Data from the 2017 survey are from the 38 OECD member and accession countries (at the time of data collection), and the European Union. This formed the basis of the 2018 Regulatory Policy Outlook (OECD, 2018[2]). This report extends the coverage to include the five EU Member States that are not OECD member countries. The surveys focus on countries’ regulatory policy practices as described in the 2012 OECD Recommendation of the Council on Regulatory Policy and Governance (OECD, 2012[3]). Please note that the 2017 edition of iREG also features new survey questions on the institutional setup of regulatory policy and oversight. Results from these new questions form part of Chapter 1, but do not cover the five EU Member States that are not members of the OECD. Please note that reforms undertaken in EU Member States after 31 December 2017 are not reflected in the report.2 The methodology of the survey and the composite indicators are described in detail in Annex B.

The surveys investigate in detail three principles of the 2012 Recommendation: stakeholder engagement, regulatory impact assessment (RIA) and ex post evaluation. The composite indicators are presented in the respective chapters that follow. For each of these areas, the surveys have collected information on formal requirements and have gathered evidence on their implementation. This information forms the basis for the recommendations in the individual country profiles in Chapter 5. OECD country reviews would be required to provide more in-depth assessments of the quality of country practices as well as tailor-made recommendations for reforms.

While stakeholder engagement, RIA, and ex post evaluation are all very important elements of regulatory policy, they do not constitute the whole better regulation framework. For instance, other principles from the 2012 Recommendation are currently not assessed, and it is also recognised that countries may have quite disparate approaches to achieving better regulation. Some EU countries for example have dedicated policies for administrative burden reduction and administrative simplification in place that are not fully covered in this report (OECD, 2010[4]).

The surveys focus on the processes of developing laws (both primary and subordinate) that are carried out by the executive branch of the national government and that apply to all policy areas. The share of legislation initiated by the parliaments of each EU Member State is reported in Annex A. Questions regarding ex post evaluation cover all national regulations regardless of whether they were initiated by parliament or the executive. Results for the European Union apply to all acts (regulations, directives and implementing and delegated acts) initiated by the European Commission, who is the executive of the European Union. It proposes new legislative acts, which are adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, usually through the ordinary legislative procedure. Throughout this procedure, the Council, comprised of representatives from EU Member States, and the European Parliament can suggest amendments to the European Commission’s proposals. While the Council and the European Parliament can invite the European Commission to submit a legislative proposal, the European Commission is the sole initiator of legislation in the EU system. Further information on the EU’s regulatory system and the legislative process are provided in the country profile of the EU in Chapter 5. The different types of EU legislative acts and subordinate regulations of the EU’s legal framework are discussed in Chapter 1.

Progress towards achieving the 2012 Recommendation is measured via composite indicators based on information from the iREG survey. The three composite indicators provide an overview of countries’ practices in the areas of stakeholder engagement, regulatory impact assessment (RIA) and ex post evaluation. Each indicator comprises four equally important and therefore equally weighted categories:

  • Systematic adoption records formal requirements and how often these requirements are conducted in practice.

  • Methodology presents information on the methods used in each area, e.g. the type of impacts assessed or how frequently different forms of consultation are used.

  • Oversight and quality control records the role of oversight bodies and publically available evaluations.

  • Transparency records information which relates to the principles of open government, e.g. whether government decisions are made publically available.

The maximum score for each category is 1 and the maximum score for the aggregate indicator is 4. The questionnaire and indicators methodology were developed in close co-operation with delegates to the Regulatory Policy Committee and the Steering Group on Measuring Regulatory Performance. The methodology for the composite indicators draws on recommendations provided in the 2008 JRC/OECD Handbook on Constructing Composite Indicators (OECD/EU/JRC, 2008[5]). Further information on the methodology is available at, as well as via an OECD working paper (Arndt et al., 2015[6]). Further analysis of the 2014 iREG survey results were made available through a subsequent working paper (Arndt et al., 2016[7]).

The results of composite indicators are always sensitive to methodological choices, unless country answers are homogeneous across all practices. It is therefore not advisable to make statements about the relative performance of countries with similar scores. Instead composite indicators should be seen as a means of initiating discussion and stimulating public interest (OECD/EU/JRC, 2008[5]). To ensure full transparency, the methodology for constructing the composite indicators and underlying data as well as the results of the sensitivity analysis to different methodological choices, including the weighting system, has been made available publicly on the OECD website.

Composite indicators are useful in their ability to integrate large amounts of information into an easily understood format (Freudenberg, 2003[8]). However, by their very nature, cross-country comparable indicators cannot be context specific and cannot fully capture the complex realities of the quality, use and impact of regulatory policy. In-depth country reviews are therefore required to complement the indicators. Reviews provide readers with a more detailed analysis of the content, strengths and shortcomings of countries’ regulatory policies, as well as detailed and context-specific recommendations for improvement.

It is also important to bear in mind that the indicators should not be interpreted as a measurement of the quality of regulation itself. While the implementation of the measures assessed by the indicators aim to deliver regulations that meet public policy objectives and will have a positive impact on the economy and society, the indicators themselves do not assess the achievement of these objectives.


[6] Arndt, C. et al. (2015), “2015 Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance: Design, Methodology and Key Results”, OECD Regulatory Policy Working Papers, No. 1, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[7] Arndt, C. et al. (2016), “Building Regulatory Policy Systems in OECD Countries”, OECD Regulatory Policy Working Papers, No. 5, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[8] Freudenberg, M. (2003), “Composite Indicators of Country Performance: A Critical Assessment”, OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers, No. 2003/16, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[2] OECD (2018), OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2018, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[1] OECD (2015), OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2015, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[3] OECD (2012), Recommendation of the Council on Regulatory Policy and Governance, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[4] OECD (2010), Why Is Administrative Simplification So Complicated?: Looking beyond 2010, Cutting Red Tape, OECD Publishing, Paris.

[5] OECD/EU/JRC (2008), Handbook on Constructing Composite Indicators: Methodology and User Guide, OECD Publishing, Paris,


← 1. Note by Turkey: The information in this document with reference to “Cyprus” relates to the southern part of the Island. There is no single authority representing both Turkish and Greek Cypriot people on the Island. Turkey recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Until a lasting and equitable solution is found within the context of the United Nations, Turkey shall preserve its position concerning the “Cyprus issue”.

Note by all the European Union Member States of the OECD and the European Union: The Republic of Cyprus is recognised by all members of the United Nations with the exception of Turkey. The information in this document relates to the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.

← 2. For example, Portugal made extensive reforms to its regulatory policy through a new Resolution of the Council of Ministers in June 2018. The Resolution makes it mandatory for ministries to assess the impacts on citizens as well as businesses for all primary laws and subordinate legislation. Ex post reviews and RIA of EU legislation may also be made under request. In addition, Portugal improved the tools, training and guidance for RIA.

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