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Multi-Level Regulatory Governance

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Practice Advice in Regulatory Policy and Management

Multi-Level Regulatory Governance (OECD)

Description: Innovative and responsive multi-level regulatory policy can improve public sector efficiency, responsiveness and effectiveness.

Commentary: A critical issue for national governments of OECD countries is to maintain regulatory quality at all levels of government, given the complex layers of regulations and policies originating from sub-national, national and international levels. In response to the challenges associated with designing a governance framework which ensures efficient and effective policy implementation at all levels, while at the same time encouraging economic development and providing public services, the OECD recommends that governments should:

  • harmonize regulatory policy, including competition principles, at all levels of government
  • improve coordination between levels of government, define clear roles and responsibilities in areas of shared competence
  • allow lower– level governments to coordinate efforts with other actors responsible for the implementation of regulatory policy
  • encourage bottom-up approaches to policymaking, by building, learning and using the capacities of  lower governments, as lower governments tend to be most concerned and directly affected by regulatory changes
  • allocate sufficient financial resources to lower levels of government to support bottom-up initiatives
  • reconsider the traditional institutional implementation of policy, and, instead, adopt a more dynamic and evidence-based approach for policy decisions at all levels of government
  • set up co-operation and co-ordination mechanisms and permanent institutional bodies to streamline the relationship between various levels of government
  • adopt a concept of mutual recognition of regulations and policies as an effective tool for promoting economic integration within a given area or region
  • consult with the public at lower levels of government to improve public service delivery

The OECD also stresses that governments need to conduct a “Regulatory Impact Analysis” to examine and measure the likely benefits, costs, and effects of existing and upcoming regulations.  In sum, multi-level regulatory governance, and policy implementation works best if the directly affected government entity (usually, at the lower level) has the ability to contribute to the policy-framing and decision-making process.

Source: OECD (2009). Rodrigo, D. L and P. Andres-Amo (2009), “Multi-Level Regulatory Governance: Policies, Institutions and Tools for Regulatory Quality and Policy Coherence”, OECD Working Papers on Public Governance, Nr 13, OECD Publishing. At: (accessed 23 September 2012).

Page Created By: Ben Eisen on 23 September 2012. Updated by Ian Clark on 2 January 2013. The content presented on this page is drawn directly from the source(s) named above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases of material drawn from it. The opinions expressed in the source and presented on this page do not necessarily reflect the official institutional positions of the organization responsible for the source’s publication.


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