Chapter 1: The politics and economics of regulatory impact assessment
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This Edward Elgar Handbook of Regulatory Impact Assessment aims to provide a balanced account of what it is to design, make and implement impact assessment (IA) across a range of major policy sectors, countries and regions. In the volume, a field of international academic and practitioner experts guide us through the state of the art of IA in five parts: (1) the analytical approaches that underpin IA; (2) the pre-eminent tools, actors and dimensions; (3) major policy sectors where IA is featured; (4) the regional diffusion of IA; and (5) its implementation analytically, pedagogically and in the field. This introduction fulfils the function of a scene-setting chapter. The authors do not offer a systematic account of IA (assuming that is possible), nor is it a summary of the chapters that follow. Rather, they define what IA is and report on research on impact assessment informed by two disciplines, political science and economics. Specifically, they consider four domains: the theoretical justification of impact assessment, its diffusion across time and jurisdictions, the economic effects and the ways in which governments use this tool. In the conclusions section they reflect on the variability of form and substance.