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Procedural Tools for Effective Governance (PROTEGO) Patterns, Outcomes and Policy Design

1 September 2016 - 31 August 2021

Researcher/s: Professor Claire Dunlop

Research partners:

Funding awarded to Exeter £ 1,217,208

Sponsor(s): European Research Council

Project webpage(s)

Procedural Tools for Effective Governance (PROTEGO) Patterns, Outcomes and Policy Design

About the research


After twenty years of research on regulatory reform in Europe, we have cumulated knowledge on a number of procedural regulatory policy instruments. But how do they work together, and do they have effects beyond the quality of regulation?

PROTEGO arises out of a fundamental claim: combinations of procedural regulatory instruments have causal effects on the performance of political systems, specifically on trust in government, control of corruption, sustainability and ‘doing business’. The key mechanism in this causal relation is accountability to different types of stakeholders. PROTEGO provides a theoretical rationale to capture the accountability effects by adopting an extension of delegation theory that considers multiple stakeholders. The theoretical framework will allow us to test the observable implications of the framework on outcomes that are crucial to the performance of political systems.

Empirically, this research programme will collect, validate and analyse original data across the EU and its 28 Member States for the period 2000-­2015, distinguishing between instruments that cover central departmental activity and independent regulatory agencies. The new dataset will cover: administrative procedure acts, freedom of information, notice and comment, judicial review, impact assessment, and environmental appraisal.

We believe that the bivariate relationship between a single instrument and final outcomes like the control of corruption explains little – because it’s the overall ecology or mix of instruments that produces causal effects. These ecologies combine in different sequences and paths associated with the outcome(s). To capture this type of causality, we will draw on a suitable methodological approach – the theory of sets – to find out how different combinations of instruments generate mechanisms that produce the final outcomes. In the social sciences, the theory of sets is better known as QCA – qualitative comparative analysis: this will be our main methodological approach.

PROTEGO will generate a dataset that will sit alongside other indicators of regulatory quality produced by the OECD and the World Bank. Its analyses will contribute to our understanding of the political economy of growth and will inform policy-­makers and international organisations about the effects of different regulatory designs. PROTEGO will generate briefing sessions for policy-­‐‑makers, contributions to scientific conferences and professional associations, a methods-­‐‑ oriented event in Milan, and in 2021 it will host the international conference of the Standing Group on Regulation & Governance at the University of Exeter.

Protego is supported by an international advisory team. The members of this team are  Herwig Hoffmann (University of Luxembourg), Gary Marks ( Burton Craige Professor of Political Science at UNC-Chapel Hill), Claudius Wagemann (University of Frankfurt), Jacques Ziller (University of Pavia, Italy).