When All the Pieces Do Not Fall Into Place. The Design of Regulatory Policy Instruments Across The EU Member States

10th February 2021 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Refectory, Badia Fiesolana - and Online/Zoom*

Over the last twenty years, the member states of the European Union have adopted procedural instruments to open up the rule-making process. Arguably, the most significative instruments are consultation, (regulatory) impact assessment, freedom of information, and the Ombudsman (which obviously has a much longer history in Sweden). Seen from the perspective of designing governance procedures, all these instruments display a family resemblance. But what do they have in common, exactly? How can we approach them with a single yardstick, a theory-grounded measuring template that does not vary according to the idiosyncrasies of the individual tool? Our solution is to draw on the Institutional Grammar Tool (IGT) and ‘read’ the four instruments as action situations composed of rule types. We gathered original data by extracting these types of rules from the original legislation in 28 European countries to answer the following research questions: how do the action situations differ in terms of rule types? To answer this question, we take the EU member states as a single population containing 203 rules, distributed by IGT type; What are the features of the rules that best explain the variation in our population? The IGT provides a powerful and theoretically robust lens to observe the fine-grained (i.e. at the individual rule type level) variability of procedures across the EU. But we are interested in going one step beyond simply mapping variation overall. Using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) we uncover the key difference-making components of each instrument; Having identified the components that matter in explaining variation, how do countries align in relation to the components that best explain variation? The findings show that countries do not display patterns confirming conventional knowledge about distinctions between legal/public administration families, clustered Europeanization, pluralist and corporatist countries, and old and new EU members. Our explanation shows the advantages of granular policy analysis as opposed to the broader categorizations of comparative politics and administrative law.

The paper is based on findings from the ERC Project Procedural Tools for Effective Governance, Protego, http://www.protego-erc.eu/project 

There are 10 places available for in-person participation for this hybrid event. Please indicate your preference when registering. You will receive the Zoom link and password on the day of the event.


Claire Dunlop
Jonathan Kamkhaji
Claudio Radaelli
Gaia Taffoni


The EGPP hosts a Seminar Series fortnightly on Wednesdays at 12.30-2 pm in Villa Schifanoia or in Badia Fiesolana and online. For more information see the event’s webpage here.