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Paola Coletti

The term bureaucracy acquired an ambiguous significance incorporating subjective feelings that are not well defined: bureaucracy can refer either to an onerous but socially necessary rule with the specific purpose of defending the public interest or to a pathological condition. Practically, red tape refers to a category of compliance costs, the so-called administrative obligations. This chapter analyses the origins and development of programmes to tackle red tape developed in the USA and in major international organizations. It then focuses on the war on red tape at the European level paying attention to the diffusion of the Standard Cost Model (SCM) that was adopted by the European Union institutions, and by almost every European country in the last few years. This methodology measures the stock of administrative burdens stemming from regulation and imposed on enterprises. The final sections of the chapter discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the model before drawing some general conclusions about the tensions that exist between impact assessment (IA) and SCM.

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Paola Coletti and Giulia Urso

The chapter will analyse the conceptual approach to policy learning. It will review a number of theories within the field of policy studies that imply a different role for the locally usable knowledge and for collective learning within the process, ranging from very rationalistic perspectives to views relying on more or less random confluences of streams. The classification of learning theories in three broad sections – learning between domains, learning within domains and organisational learning – will be examined. Besides the role of learning in the policy literature, the use of knowledge as a resource for agents of learning will be discussed.