A closer look at proportionality and threshold tests for RIA

by Maria Bianca Armiento

This paper deals with core aspects of regulatory impact assessments like proportionality and threshold tests. From the analysis, it emerges how OECD and EU countries have implemented such “tools” for several reasons, including the need that regulations with a huge impact on society are properly assessed, in order to refrain government from wasting time on assessing regulations that might have a poor impact, and to ensure more transparency to the whole process. However, it also underlined that, for instance, there is an abuse in providing exceptions to avoid RIA and adopt legislation in a faster way. 

In order to ensure more proportionality in the recourse to RIA, some principles are suggested (for instance, regarding the problem of excessive exemptions, these should be limited only to the cases of ‘genuinely unforeseen emergencies, when a significant delay could objectively put the wellbeing of citizens at risk’). The paper is enriched with an annex describing the different approach of several OECD countries to proportionality and threshold tests.