Handbook of Regulatory Impact Assessment
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Handbook of Regulatory Impact Assessment

Edited by Claire A. Dunlop and Claudio M. Radaelli

This comparative Handbook provides a pioneering and comprehensive account of regulatory impact assessment – the main instrument used by governments and regulators to appraise the likely effects of their policy proposals. Renowned international scholars and practitioners describe the substance of impact assessment, situating it in its proper theoretical traditions and scrutinizing its usage across countries, policy sectors, and policy instruments. The Handbook of Regulatory Impact Assessment will undoubtedly be of great value to practitioners and also scholars with its wealth of detail and lessons to be learned.
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Chapter 4: Interpretive analysis and regulatory impact assessment

James R. Palmer


This chapter demonstrates some of the broad range of insights that interpretive analysis can offer when directed specifically towards impact assessment (IA) processes. Given their dominance over the appraisal of environmental policies in many developed economies, much of the chapter focuses on what Kysar terms ‘economic optimisation’ approaches, including both conventional risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis (CBA). Specific points are illustrated using examples not just relating to the use of this method, but also to areas where computer modelling and other kinds of detailed technical assessment have been called upon to appraise policy. Throughout, the aim is to highlight several unique contributions that such approaches – taken as a whole – have made, and may continue to make, to academic understandings of IA and its political dimensions, particularly in the environmental sphere.

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