Methodical Snark critical reflections on how we measure and assess civic tech

Short Summary of the Bank case study on participatory rule-making

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What is it: Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance: Trends in Participatory Rulemaking: A Case Study (a 13 page pdf from the World Bank, which calls itself a case study, but doesn’t discuss a case).

This title promised a lot, and it’s been shared with excitement a few times, so I was disappointed to see how little the document had to offer. It’s essentially a read of the Bank’s GIRG data relevant to participatory rule-making, but fails to offer much insight. This is disappointing given so much dynamic work being done in the field, like GovLab’s crowdlaw project.

Main point: Participatory rule-making is becoming more common, particularly in developed, democratic countries.

Methods:

This report is culled from the Global Indicators of Regulatory Governance data, which has long been available on the World Bank sites. It’s basically a running narration of descriptive statistics. The methodological aspects of the data collection and indicator composition are too detailed to chart here, but are well regarded.

Where’s it coming from:

It’s not at all clear to me what motivated this case study.

Should you care?

Not unless you are working specifically with participatory rule-making, and frankly, maybe not even then. This report builds methodologically on stronger work of the OECD, and the comparisons don’t seem to tell us much.

Assuming that the data is collected as a survey comparable to the UN E-government Survey, then it might be useful for surfacing new reforms (and the report closes with a page on that, briefly describing relevant reforms in Belarus, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Lithuania, Spain, Switzerland, Uzbekestan, and Vietnam. But the descriptions are to brief to inspire, and lack links for easily learning more. For actual cases, work like that of CrowdLaw is more useful.

 

Findings:

  • “Of the 185 economies included in the GIRG dataset, 135 notify the general public of new regulation proposals” (2).
  • 75% of high-income economies have a unified website for rulemaking consultations
  • In economies where the government solicits feedback on proposed regulation,
    more than two-thirds also report back on the results of the consultation process.
  • Developed and democratic countries are performing much better than developing and non-democratic countries, both in terms of publishing and receiving info (“although there are some notable exceptions” in regard to levels of development (6))..
  • Europe and Central Asia is treated as a region, distinct from OECD high income countries, and is leading the pack in terms of forward regulatory plans, publishing regulatory information, and receiving comments
  • Publishing regulatory info is much more common that is a legal obligation to publish info on regulations (“Reporting on the results of public consultations is required by law in 26 of the 185 countries surveyed, including 11 economies in Europe and Central Asia  and nine in the OECD high-income group. No such requirements exist  in South Asia or Latin America and the Caribbean. ” (8)).
  • GIRG scores correlate generally with other comparative measures of transparency and accountability

Insights:

  • Not really.

Shortcomings:

This report is poorly laid out and poorly written, making it hard to read. There are also typos, making me wonder whether it lacked institutional ownership that would have led to proofreading.

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