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

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - PROTEGO (Procedural Tools for Effective Governance (PROTEGO) Patterns, Outcomes and Policy DesignProcedural Tools for Effective Growth: Patterns, Outcomes and policy Design)

Reporting period: 2020-03-01 to 2020-08-31

PROTEGO proceeds from 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 the quality of the business environment. The key mechanism in this causal relation is accountability to different types of stakeholders. Empirically, this research programme collects, validates and analyses original data across the EU and its 28 Member States for the period 2000-¬2015, distinguishing between central departmental activity (which is the main focus of our analysis) and independent regulatory agencies.

The new dataset maps in detail the design of the following administrative procedures:

_Notice and Comment
_Freedom of Information
_Impact Assessmen
_Ombudsman
_Administrative judicial review

The project shows how the instruments work together, as combinations or ecologies that produce effects on the outcome described above exactly because they work together and together trigger the mechanisms that cause the outcome. It is the overall ecology or mix of instruments that produces causal effects. 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 is our third overall (methodological) objective.

The final objective is to generate a set of empirical demonstrations of how accountability produces outcomes that will assist in the design of regulatory reform across the EU member states. These empirical results will be corroborated by the presence of a rigorous novel dataset that will sit alongside other indicators of regulatory quality.
During the first two years of the project, our first and main practical objective in terms of research has been to identify a suitable measurement approach and instrument to carry out the empirical activities of the project. We found an approach that allows to consider all the policy instruments covered by our project with a single measurement template. This approach draws on the institutional grammar tool (IGT) of Elinor Ostrom and her co-authors, specifically rule types within the grammar of institutions. We created different pilots of how Ostrom's approach could be transformed into a single measurement template. Having reached a satisfactory level with the precision of the measurement in the pilot cases, we then moved on to the design of our own novel protocol for data collection and rule extraction from the relevant legal texts. The same protocol applies to all the five pure administrative procedures (Notice and Comment -often known as consultation in the EU member states; Freedom of Information; Impact Assessment of proposed legislation and regulation; Ombudsman; administrative judicial review) and countries/polities covered by the project.

These protocols extend Ostrom's IGT approach to the specific features of the regulatory policy instrumentation as well as capturing of the overall rule configuration of the procedure within the administrative law context. This is the first time the analysis of rules (inspired by the institutional grammar tool) is applied on a large comparative scale to 28 countries (plus the EU). Previous applications of Ostrom's rules typology have covered micro-applications for example cases of water irrigation in areas of a country or portion of a single anti-tobacco law in a country. After having launched a competitive bid to work as expert data collectors, we hired (as sub-contractors) and trained 38 administrative lawyers or graduates in related field with proven expertise in the respective areas of administrative law in the EU 28 countries. The actual data collection was carried out hence by a team of 38 lawyers and scholars selected on the basis of their specific and verified competence with administrative law and in particular rule-making procedures in individual member states or families of countries. Along with the 145 (29x5) core protocols that we commissioned for the individual country procedures, we have also commissioned one background protocol per country (based on open-ended questions) covering general and constitutional principles of administrative action and transparency bringing the number of sub-contracted protocols to a total of 174. The experts were trained by the team.

The project collected 158 complete protocols. The bulk of the protocols involves extracting Ostrom's rule types by citing exactly the provisions of the law, in the original language and in English translation and is per se fairly labour-intensive. We are currently validating the protocols in our team and with the assistance of the international advisory team made up of lawyers and methodologists. We will have a clean and validated dataset ready to be coded before the end of the year. The second line of work has been oriented towards our contribution to the scientific debate. We have taken part in a number of scientific conferences and workshops. Most of these events were political science conferences, but we also contributed to inter-disciplinary conferences.
We expect PROTEGO to make progress beyond the state of the art in the following directions: the creation of a new unique dataset of fundamental administrative procedures across the EU, the empirical analysis of combinations of regulatory policy instruments and their effects on outcomes like ease of business, bureaucratic corruption and trust in government, the formulation of new suggestions for the design of regulatory instrumentation and administrative procedures in general. Design is prominent in our project, especially at the end of the project. Today the suggestions for design of regulatory procedures such as consultation of stakeholders or impact assessment of new legislation are not sensitive to the nuances of context. Our project will demonstrate that a certain combination of regulatory policy instruments improves on ease of business in certain member states of the EU, but other member states obtain the same result by drawing on a different constellation of instruments that in the end triggers the same mechanisms conducive to the quality of the business environment. Protego also demonstrates how political scientists can work with a large team of lawyers (38) in genuine inter-disciplinary fashion and generate results together. Scientifically, our contribution is interdisciplinary and at the frontier of research. We are the first team to examine very different regulatory procedures that affect rule-making with a single empirical measurement template. This template is not ad hoc. It is not based on surveys and self-diagnosis by government officers. Instead, it is anchored to a robust theoretical framework, that is, Ostrom's analysis of rules within the grammar of institutions. This has led us to the extraction of theoretically robust data points in the form of selected articles, clauses and portions of in force legalisation (in original language and English). As such, the data collectd via our methodology are fully replicable and will be made publicly available to encourage and foster further comparative analysis of the design of procedures across the EU and the effects of different designs.
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