Analysis of Learning in Regulatory Governance (2009-2013)

Both the European Unione and its Member States have adopted regulatory innovations and new tools for the preparation of legislation with the aim of making institutions learn from evidence, consultation, and economic analysis. The smart regulation agenda covers simplification, impact assessment, procedures for the elimination of administrative burdens, and consultation. Research up until now has focused on either the content of these innovations or their different usages, including perfunctory and advocacy usages. The classic research question in the field is 'have policy officers learned how to use the smart tools?'

This interdisciplinary, mixed-methods project, instead, looks at what has been learned because of these innovations. Grounded in theories of policy learning, the project will cover the EU as well as a sample of EU countries. Methodologically, the project draws on comparative analysis of types of learning, experiments with regulatory policy makers, large-n analysis of impact assessments, coding legislation on access to public administration, meta-analysis of the case-studies available in the academic and grey literature. Dissemination targets both stakeholders and academics in political science, law, and decision analysis, with a major research conference in June 2012 and a dissemination conference with Ceps in Brussels June 2013.

ALREG is a four-year research project funded by the European Research Council, Advanced Grants Section. The project started in September 2009.

The project’s aims are to contribute innovatively to our understanding of different types of learning in public policy, to explain the outcomes of regulatory innovations in comparative perspective, and to engage academics, public opinion, policy makers and regulatory stakeholders in the discussion of our findings.

Theoretically, our aim is to contribute to theories of policy learning, specifically in relation to mechanisms, scope conditions, and meta-theory. Empirically, it will cover impact assessment.

Methodologically, the project draws on comparative analysis of types of learning, experiments with regulatory policy makers, large-n analysis of UK impact assessments, backward mapping of legislation meta-analysis of case-studies and co-production of knowledge with better regulation officers.

Our research products and activities:

- an internet-based public library of RIA case studies in cooperation with the LIAISE project,

- a new index of breadth and scope of impact assessments, based on a representative sample of more than 500 impact assessments in the UK from 2005-2011,

- an original map of administrative governance, covering freedom of information acts, notice and comment procedures, judicial review, administrative procedure acts, and publication requirements in 12 European countries,

- a meta-analysis of impact assessment case studies using qualitative comparative analysis,

- a systematic analysis of learning in major EU integration and public policy theories,

- a theoretical paper on micro-foundations, explanatory typologies, mechanisms of learning in public policy,

- experiments with regulatory policy makers in the UK, thanks to cooperation with BRDO-Birmingham,

- a workshop at the ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops (in cooperation with Professor Fabrizio Gilardi at the University of Zurich),

- a final research conference in June 2012 and a final dissemination conference in June 2013 jointly organised with Ceps-Brussels on "EU impact assessment @ Ten"

Additional funding to explore mechanisms of learning in comparative perspective was provided by the Dutch Government in 2010 – this led to the report “How to learn from the international experience” discussed by the Dutch Parliament in Spring 2010.

ALREG also feeds into the modules on Regulation and Reform: Analysis and Policy and Risk, Responsibility and Regulation taught in our Master of Public Administration.

Claire Dunlop and Claudio Radaelli (2013), Systematizing policy learning: from monoliths to dimensions. Political Studies (October).

Fabrizio De Francesco, Claudio Radaelli and Vera Troeger (2012), Implementing regulatory innovations in Europe: the case of impact assessment, in: Journal of European Public Policy.19(4): 491-511. download here

Claudio Radaelli and Anne Meuwese (2012), How the regulatory state differs: The constitutional dimensions of rulemaking in the EU and the USA, Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, 42(2): 177-195.

Claudio Radaelli (2012), Measuring regulatory quality? No thanks (but why not?), European Journal of Risk Regulation 3(1): 108-112. download here

Claudio Radaelli, Bruno Dente and Samuele Dossi (2012), Recasting institutionalism: institutional analysis and public policy, European Political Science. download here

Claire Dunlop (2012), Epistemic communities. In: M Howlett, S Fritzen, W Xun and E Araral (eds), Routledge Handbook of Public Policy, Routledge.

Claire Dunlop, Martino Maggetti, Claudio Radaelli and Duncan Russel (2012), The many uses of regulatory impact assessment: a meta-analysis of EU and UK Cases, Regulation & Governance 6. download here

Claire Dunlop and Claudio Radaelli (2012), Learning in public policy: theory and metatheory. Paper to be presented at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, March 2012. download here

Oliver Fritsch, Claudio Radaelli, Lorna Schrefler and Andrea Renda (2012), Regulatory quality in the European Commission and the UK: old questions and new findings, Centre for European Policy Studies Working Paper 362, Brussels. download here

Duncan Russel (2012), Watching the detectives: explaining regulators’ roles in the integration of sustainable development in UK Public Services, Public Management Review (accepted).

Claire Dunlop (2011), Commentary on MacRae. Regulatory impact assessment: a panacea to over-regulation?, Journal of Risk Research 8(14): 947-950. download here

Claudio Radaelli and Oliver Fritsch (2011), Measuring regulatory performance, report prepared for the 3rd Expert Meeting of the OECD Regulatory Policy Committee on ‘Communicating and measuring progress in regulatory reform: developing a framework for measuring regulatory performance in OECD countries’, September 2011, Madrid.

Claudio Radaelli (2011), Why good ideas produce bad results (sometimes): economic rationales, learning and regulatory instruments, Working paper. download here

Fabrizio Gilardi and Claudio Radaelli (2011), Governance and learning. Draft for the Oxford Handbook of Governance. download here

Susana Borrás and Claudio Radaelli (2011), The politics of governance architectures: creation, change and effects of the EU Lisbon Strategy, Journal of European Public Policy 18(4): 463-484. download here

Burkard Eberlein and Claudio Radaelli (2010), Mechanisms of conflict management in EU regulatory policy, Public Administration 88(3): 782-799. download here

Duncan Russell and Claudio Radaelli (2010), Regulatory reform and climate change, Report for the World Bank Group, 7 December 2010.

Claudio Radaelli and Fabrizio De Francesco (2010), The Oxford Handbook of Regulation, in: Martin Cave, Robert Baldwin and Martin Lodge (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Regulation, Oxford University Press, 279-301.

Claudio Radaelli and Anne Meuwese (2010), Hard questions, hard solutions: proceduralisation through impact assessment in the EU, West European Politics 33(1): 136-153. download here

Claudio Radaelli (2010), Regulating rule-making via impact assessment, Governance 23(1): 89-108. download here

Susana Borrás and Claudio Radaelli (2010), Recalibrating the Open Method of Coordination: towards diverse and more effective usages, Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies Report 7:2010, Stockholm. download here

Claudio Radaelli, Lorenzo Allio, Andrea Renda and Lorna Schrefler (2010), How to learn from the international experience: impact assessment in the Netherlands, Report for the Dutch Government. download here

Anne Meuwese and Claudio Radaelli (2010), The constitutional implications of 'insignificant' rules. Paper presented at the 'Comparing democracies - the American exceptionalism exported?' conference held at Kent State University, Florence, June 2010.

Claudio Radaelli and Oliver Fritsch (2010), The quality of impact assessment in Serbia, World Bank Institute, Washington DC.

Claudio Radaelli (2009), Measuring policy learning: regulatory impact assessment in Europe, in: Journal of European Public Policy 18(4): 463-484.

Fabrizio De Francesco and Claudio Radaelli (2009), Overview of regulatory indicators. FIAS, Better Regulation for Growth Program. download here

Fabrizio De Francesco and Claudio Radaelli (2009), Project-level indicators. FIAS, Better Regulation for Growth Program. download here

We have

- coded a representative sample of impact assessments carried out in the UK between 2005 and 2011

- coded 31 case studies of impact assessment

- collated data on administrative law (map of administrative governance)

- assembled experimental data on the phenomenon of 'illusion of control'

Findings from our mid-term report (October 2011)

1. There are different types of policy learning scattered in the literature: we designed an explanatory typology that makes sense of the different types and shows their connections

Ref: Dunlop and Radaelli, Policy Learning: From monolith to dimensions. Political Studies, forthcoming

2. There are different combinations of conditions that are sufficient to produce one type of learning or another (or lack thereof). This stands in contrast to the conventional wisdom in this field: up until now the argument has been that there is a single repertoire of conditions for learning

Ref: Dunlop, Radaelli  et al.: The many usages of impact assessment. Regulation & Governance, available at early view

3. To find how to learn from the international experience, a country should not copy 'structures' or 'institutions' but focus on a few number of short mechanisms. Methodologically, this implies a shift to designing reforms by creating the conditions for mechanisms to operate

Ref: Radaelli et al, How to learn from the International Experience

4. The regulatory innovations introduced by European countries over the last 15 years have constitutional implications. These implications of regulatory reform have been acknowledged and addressed in countries like the US, but not in the EU. The constitutional dimension of regulation, however, is still unexplored.

Ref: Radaelli and Meuwese: The constitutional implications of insignificant rules, Law & Policy, under review

5. There are already several measures of regulatory performance available, but the key problem is that regulatory oversight bodies do not measure their own output. This stands in contrast to the conventional argument that the problem with measuring regulatory performance is that we are not clear about the chain of causality.

Ref: Radaelli and Fritsch, Measuring Regulatory Performance, OECD working paper, Sept. 2011



  • Learning the Eurozone crisis: The Accidental Federalist. A note by Jonathan Kamkhaji and Claudio Radaelli, March 2012. download here
  • Can we measure regulatory performance? A note by Claudio Radaelli Read the note November 2011 (draft of a short article to appear in European Journal of Risk and Regulation)
  • An Op-Ed by Claudio Radaelli on Why progressive movements and parties need to use both rights and economics in their political repertoire was published by the daily Notizie Radicali, 2nd May 2011
  • Smart Procedures Review: A proposal for higher education establishments - Presentation, February 2011
  • An Op-Ed by Claudio Radaelli on Quality of Lawmaking and Impact Assessment in Italy was published by the daily Notizie Radicali, 8th February 2011
  • Regulatory Indicators - Presentation to the unit "Econometrics and Applied Statistics", Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC), The European Commission, Joint Research Centre, ISPRA(VA), ITALY, 11th November 2009


  • A website has been launched for the workshop 'Learning in Politics and Public Policy', to be held in St. Gallen at the ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, 12th - 17th April 2011
  • Why is it so difficult to get rid of red tape? A Facebook note by Claudio M. Radaelli
  • Claudio Radaelli gave a keynote speech at the LIAISE annual meeting, Milan, 26th January 2011. A recording has been uploaded to YouTube: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Conferences and presentations


October 2012


Claudio Radaelli is keynote speaker at the Conference on the Human Dimension of global Environmental Change on "Evidence for Sustainable Development."

April 2012


Claudio Radaelli, Claire Dunlop and Oliver Fritsch present the paper "Narrating impact assessment in the European Union" at the PSA conference in Belfast. download here

February 2012


How to learn lessons from regulatory reform: conference meeting of the ALREG team and a team of Portuguese lawyers (NOVA University Lisbon) involved in a project on extrapolating lessons for regulatory governance.

February 2012


Impact assessment - examination of three dissertations on EU impact assessment within the PhD programme in Institutions and Public Administration.

Janurary 2012


SECO conference on regulatory reform and impact assessment, Claudio Radaelli presents a paper on Switzerland in a comparative perspective. download here

December 2011


European University Institute - Oliver Fritsch presents a research paper on impact assessment in the UK and the EU at the workshop on "The private and public dimensions of smart regulation" organised by Prof Cafaggi and Dr Renda.

September 2011


OECD steering group meeting on measuring and communicating regulatory performance.

September 2011


SOG conference promoted by the journal "Governance" - Claudio Radaelli presents a paper co-authored with Paola Coletti comparing the learning models in the standard cost model and in regulatory impact assessment.

August 2011


European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) general conference.

June 2011


Oral evidence to the European Parliament on better legislation in the EU and fieldwork expedition by Claudio Radaelli. download here

April 2011


Political Studies Association (PSA) conference attendance by Claire Dunlop and Claudio Radaelli.

March 2011


International Regulatory Reform Consortium Conference (IRRC) - Claudio Radaelli chairs a panel on "What is smart about smart regulation?"

January 2011


Conference on the Lisbon Agenda - Claudio takes part as a discussant on the final panel on governance.

January 2011


IRRC conference on regulatory reform - presentation by Claudio Radaelli and Oliver Fritsch.

January 2011


ALREG - Sieps meeting on the future of governance in the EU - Susana Borras and Claudio Radaelli present a report about the open method of coordination which acknowledges

the contribution of ALREG to the ideas on learning and governance in the EU.

November 2010


State University of Milan seminar on regulatory oversight - Claudio Radaelli presents a paper co-authored with Anne Meuwese on the constitutional effects of impact assessment in the EU and the USA.

June 2010


Third international conference on Regulation and Governance - Claure Dunlop and Claudio Radaelli present a paper on "What's an Impact Assessment to do? Ideas, Instruments and the Capabilities-Expectations Gap." download here

June 2010


Conference on comparing Democracies promoted by Kent University, USA - Claudio Radaelli presents a paper co-authored with Anne Meuwese. download here

June 2010


International Association for Law and Legislation (IAL) congress - Claudio Radaelli presents a report on how to learn from the international experience, based on the work on the Dutch case by Radaelli, Schrefler, Allio and Renda. download here

May 2010


IPZ Centre for Political Science Research - Claudio Radaelli presents a paper co-authored with Claire Dunlop on typologies of policy learning.

March 2010


Bocconi University - seminar on Regulating Rulemaking via Impact Assessment. download here

March 2010


ECPR joint sessions of workshops - Claire Dunlop and Claudio Radaelli present a paper based on meta-analysis of 32 case studies of impact assessment (now published in Governance and Regulation).

March 2010


National Audit Office and European Policy Forum meeting with the Regulatory Policy Committee. Oliver Fritsch and Claudio Radaelli presented their ideas on regulatory oversight to the secretary of the RPC, Mr Pedrotti.

March 2010


KNOWPOL meeting - Claudio Radaelli provided an overview of usages of knowledge in public policy, drawing on ALREG and on his work with Lorna Schrefler.

February 2010


Workshop on regulatory reform organised by Prof Popelier - Claudio Radaelli presents a paper drawing on ALREG research. download here

January 2010


International conference on the future of Europe.

October 2009


Seminar on EU public policy - chaired and discussed by Claudio Radaelli.

October 2009


House of Lords - Claudio Radaelli provides oral evidence. download here and here

September 2009


ASTRID workshop on simplification and quality of regulation - Claudio Radaelli presents an oral communication.

September 2009


ARENA seminar on mechanisms in EU policy - Claudio Radaelli presents his research findings in a paper co-authored with Burkard Eberlein.

September 2009


American Political Sciene Association (APSA) - ALREG promotes a panel on policy learning.

Professor Claudio Radaelli 
Department of Politics
University of Exeter
Amory Building
Rennes Drive
Devon EX4 4RJ


Extension: 3176

Telephone: 01392 263176