Brenner, D. and Fazekas, M. (2020). Legislative Effects of Regulatory Impact Assessment: A Comparative Event History Analysis of Modifications of Law in France, Italy, Hungary, and the UK. GTI-WP/2020:03, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.
Regulatory instability, which is a frequent modification of adopted laws, is costly for society. Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIAs) are designed to improve the quality of legislation, however, we know little about RIAs’ impact on legal stability. Therefore, this paper analyses whether RIAs influence the incidence and frequency of the modifications of laws. Our analysis is based on a complete dataset of more than 2500 enacted laws in France, Hungary, Italy, and the United Kingdom in 2006-2012. We apply a comparative event history analysis to account for both first and subsequent modifications of legislation. We find across-the-board that RIA contributes to legal stability. However, the strength of this effect varies by country in ways calling for further research. RIA is predicted to have the largest effect when political power changes both in terms of seat shares and party ideology, suggesting that the technical and consultative practices engrained in RIA can, to some degree, tame volatile politics.