2017 Conference - Session 5

Session 5 - Friday, March 17, 9:00 - 10:30am

A.5: Benefit-Cost Analyses and Food Safety Regulations on Meat, Poultry and Egg Products (Roundtable)

Chair: Flora Tsui, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Discussant: Sandra Hoffmann, U.S. Department of Agriculture

A roundtable discussion highlighting how USDA/FSIS conducts benefit cost analyses for food safety regulations on products under jurisdiction. The content would include a brief overview of the methodology and data most frequently used, and three most recent BCAs as case studies.

Presentations:

1. Overview of Food Safety Regulations; Richa Ajmera*, U.S. Department of Agriculture

2. Benefit Cost Analysis for the New Performance Standards for Pathogen Reduction in Certain Poultry Products; Angelica Marrero*, U.S. Department of Agriculture

3. Benefit Cost Analysis on Control of Listeria Monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Meat and Poultry Products; Flora Tsui*, U.S. Department of Agriculture

B.5: BCA in Political Decision-making

Chair: Joe Devlin, Environment & Climate Change Canada

Discussant: Ronald Bird, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Presentations:

1. Michigan v. EPA and the Inescapable Normative Nature of the Concept of Cost; Daniele Bertolini*, Ryerson University

In this paper, we examine the decision of the US Supreme Court (“USSC”) in Michigan v. EPA (2015) in the context of the rapidly evolving jurisprudential framework concerning the relationship between judicial review and cost-benefit analysis. This Article is divided in three parts. In the first Part, we examine the decision from a legal positive perspective. First, we scrutinize parties’ opposing line of arguments. Second, we identify weaknesses and limitations of the USSC’s line of reasoning, and emphasize the extent to which the decision has departed from consolidated case law.

In the second Part, we provide a normative conceptual analysis of cost in the context of regulatory action. Drawing on institutional economics literature, we examine the logical features of the concept of cost and the difficulties associated with the use of the term ‘cost’ in legal economic analysis. More specifically, we identify cost as a partial function of both the institutional structure and legal framework. On this view, the identification of a relevant set of costs hinges on the prior definition of the normatively relevant set of interests. That is, to operationalize the concept of cost one must rely on a well-defined normative framework that specifies in advance ‘whose interests are made a cost to whom.’

In the third Part, we apply the proposed normative framework to the central issue in Michigan v. EPA–i.e., whether it is reasonable for the agency to not consider the costs of regulation at the listing phase. We contend that this legal issue depends on defining the set of interests that is relevant at the listing phase. The discussion of this point provides useful generalizable insights on the role of costs in the contest of regulatory action. The ultimate analytical goal is to provide a conceptual framework that enhances transparency and consistency of legal-economic reasoning in the context of regulatory action.

2. Cost-Benefit Analysis, Policy Impacts, and Congressional Hearings; Joseph Ripberger* and Deven Carlson, University of Oklahoma

In 1981, President Reagan signed Executive Order 12291, which required agencies to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of every major proposed regulation. Although the details of this order have changed from administration to administration, cost-benefit analysis remains a crucial component of the federal policymaking process today. In order to be maximize informational value, a cost-benefit analysis must contain a comprehensive accounting of each and every impact—both positive and negative—of the policy under consideration. Existing work, however, provides relatively little guidance on the optimal approach to systematically identifying all valued impacts of the policy being evaluated. Consequently, this process is often driven by ad hoc theorizing, path-dependent reviews of previous work on the topic, or dialogue with stakeholders invested in a given policy alternative. Occasionally, the process also includes public comments that are collected from comment periods or focus groups. Though useful, these practices are not always systematic and can result in omission of significant policy impacts, thus limiting the value of the cost-benefit analysis from a policymaker’s perspective.

In this paper, we develop a systematic approach to identifying relevant policy impacts for valuation in a cost-benefit analysis. Specifically, this approach involves systematic analysis of every statement from each witnesses across the universe of Congressional hearings on the topic. By using Congressional hearings as the basis for our approach, we are identifying potential policy impacts from information provided during the very process the cost-benefit analysis is intended to inform. In doing so, this approach is designed to ensure that all impacts valued by policymakers and relevant stakeholders are accounted for in the cost-benefit analysis. We demonstrate the utility of our approach by using it to identify potential impacts from proposals to alter operations of the Glen Canyon Dam.

3. Analyzing the Effects of the Tarmac Delay Rule: Data and Methodological Challenges; Deborah Aiken*, U.S. Department of Transportation; Ali Gungor, U.S. Coast Guard; and Rayik Samara, George Mason University

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued the tarmac delay rule (TDR). The Department adopted the rule partly in response to instances where passengers were held on aircraft during lengthy delays on the airport tarmac. The TDR requires airlines to give passengers on domestic flights an opportunity to deplane no more than three hours after the cabin door has closed at the gate if aircraft liftoff has not occurred, or no more than three hours after touchdown at the arrival airport. Airlines that violate the TDR may be subject to financial penalties.

Several studies have evaluated the effects of the TDR. Overall, studies agree that the rule has significantly reduced the frequency of lengthy tarmac delays. However, some studies suggest that the reductions in tarmac delays may come at the expense of unintended consequences that potentially leave airline passengers worse off. For example, one concern is that the reductions in delays reflect an increased tendency of airlines to cancel flights rather than risk penalties associated with violating the TDR. Increased cancellations may reduce passenger welfare due to the need to rebook flights, and the resulting delays in reaching final destinations.

Previous studies typically use the Airline Service Quality Performance (ASQP) database collected by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Because the number of daily flights is in the thousands, researchers have employed various methods to reduce the data to a more manageable size. The methods include: reducing the size by random sampling of the daily flight data, aggregating to monthly cancellation rates, and limiting the analysis to certain months of the year. In this study, we review these data reduction approaches and systematically evaluate whether they lead to loss of critical information, which may mask important effects and cause misleading interpretations of the impacts of the TDR on passenger welfare.

C.5: Applications of BCA in Energy and the Environment

Discussant: Ann Ferris, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Presentations:

1. National Security Benefits within the Renewable Fuel Standard; Daniel Perez*, The George Washington University

I'm proposing to assess the assumptions concerning the national security benefits estimated within EPA's RIA of its Renewable Fuel Standard. These benefits are listed broadly under the term "energy security." EPA estimates a $2.6 billion annual benefit in its 2010 Regulatory Impact Assessment of the RFS2 Program. This is estimated to the potential benefit to the U.S. economy in the form of reduced macroeconomic/disruption costs (in the event of a shock to oil markets). My presentation would focus on EPA's claim that there is little to no correlation between the price of crude and the price of renewable fuel feedstocks - it is possible that the potential benefits to the U.S. economy would be limited by a substitution effect during a global oil shortage.

2. The (r)Evolution of Non-Energy Benefits in Energy Efficiency; Christopher Chan*, Eversource Energy; Greg Clendenning, NMR Group, Inc; Bruce Tonn, Three3, Inc; and Beth Hawkins, Three3, Inc.

Eversource, New England’s largest energy delivery company, is one of eight “Program Administrators” (PAs) responsible for planning and administering Massachusetts’ energy efficiency programs. Many states, including Massachusetts, require that these ratepayer-funded programs be screened for cost-effectiveness through application of a “Total Resource Cost” (TRC) test. The TRC test, in concept, weighs the program costs for administration and implementation and the program benefits, which include energy, secondary fuel, and other resource savings, as well as “non-energy benefits” (NEBs).

However, NEBs – such as improved comfort, health, and worker productivity – are rarely incorporated in the TRC test because they can be difficult to quantify or viewed as an “externality” outside the usual realm of utility regulation. As a result, regulatory decisions can be biased against cost-effective efficiency investments. Fortunately, Massachusetts regulators encourage the PAs to conduct studies of NEBs and include their values in the TRC test.

Massachusetts is widely recognized as a NEB leader, as exemplified by its groundbreaking research covering many NEB categories and market sectors. As their programs mature and more energy efficient standards or practices are adopted, the PAs continually assess and deploy novel, robust methods for quantifying NEBs to bolster the cost-effectiveness and continued promotion and expansion of program offerings. As an example, the PAs recently completed a comprehensive, integrative study that reexamined and assessed the NEBs of their low-income weatherization program, which include the avoided medical costs and deaths from reduced asthma, thermal stress, fire, and carbon monoxide poisoning; reduced losses in work income; reduced use of short-term predatory loans; and increased home productivity. This research was based on occupant pre- and post-weatherization survey responses coupled with medical incidence and cost and wage data, and a value per statistical life. The PAs are considering using the study results to support a program for replacing heating systems in low-income housing.

3. Welfare Impact of Electricity Subsidy Reforms: A Micro Model Study; Syed Adnan Khalid*, National University of Sciences & Technology

Manned space flight has been risky to the persons involved. The U.S. space program has had to cope with one ground fire killing three astronauts, (Apollo 1) and two shuttle explosions (the Challenger launch in 1986 and the Columbia reentry in 2003, each killing a crew of 7). The events with fatalities each led to significant delays in the space program. As NASA increases its use of commercial enterprises to support manned missions, with transport or even missions themselves contracted out and private businesses undertaking their own space endeavors (tourism, mining), understanding how to think about these risks will continue to be important, particularly regarding risks to life. The "value of statistical life" (VSL) is the standard tool to assess whether the benefit of actions to reduce the probability of mortality exceed the cost of those actions. While useful in assessing some aspects of space risk and liability awards, its use may be qualified first by whether those taking the risk signed on to the prospect, astronauts being the leading example. Another qualification is the extent to which the public at large bears the cost of this risk by being averse to witnessing losses of those exploring space. We assess the relevance of VSL in settings where participants choose to take on the risk and where the policy question involves willingness to pay to reduce risks to others rather than reducing risks to oneself. A relevant question to consider is whether the public's aversion to mortality should be the standard for determining whether expansion of space activity is worth the risks borne by participants in the commercial space sector. (This work was funded by a grant from NASA to Resources for the Future; Molly Macauley, Principle Investigator.)

D.5: Applications of BCA to Jobs and Transfer Programs

Chair: Weston Merrick, Minnesota Management and Budget

Presentations:

1. Imagining a Tax System with Universal Basic Income; Kyle Rozema*, Northwestern University

Proposals for a universal basic income (UBI), in which each citizen receives an unconditional cash payment from the government on a monthly or annual basis, date at least as far back as the late eighteenth century but have been increasing in recent years. The movement for a UBI in the US appears to be coalescing around a plan to replace some or all existing anti-poverty programs with a payment of approximately $12,000 to each adult each year. Despite widespread discussion of these proposals among academics and activists, no one has yet produced a rigorous estimate of the budgetary or distributional effects of a UBI along the lines proposed. This article aims to fill that gap. Using microdata drawn from US tax returns, we seek to answer two questions: (1) What changes to the tax system would be necessary to finance a UBI of the size suggested?; and (2) What would be the distributional consequences of repealing existing anti-poverty programs and replacing them with an annual $12,000 UBI (with or without additional adjustments to the tax code)?

We first estimate that the net cost of one of the main UBI proposals, $2.3 trillion, could be raised if each marginal rate in the federal individual income tax schedule were increased by 31 percentage points. The assumption that a UBI would be funded by uniform increases across the rate schedule is, to be sure, just one possible way that Congress might choose to pay for such a program—and perhaps not the most politically feasible option. We therefore evaluate other possibilities for financing a UBI, and we provide estimates of the distributional effects of these options. We also consider the revenue and distributional effects of expanding the UBI to include children. 

2. A Benefit-Cost Analysis of a Workforce Development Program for Disconnected Youth; Mithuna Srinivasan* and Sonam Gupta, Impaq International

Given the pressing issue of high rates of unemployment among young adults and disconnection from the educational system and labor market, the U.S. Department of Labor in July 2012 awarded a grant to the Riverside County Economic Development Agency (EDA) to implement the Linking Innovation, Knowledge, and Employment (@LIKE) program. This program provided services to disconnected young adults (ages 18-24) to address skill gaps and enable them to meet their educational and labor market goals. The @LIKE program operated in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial counties in Southern California until October 2016. In 2012, the Riverside EDA engaged IMPAQ International as a third party independent evaluator to evaluate the grant initiative. IMPAQ was responsible for all components of the evaluation including a quasi-experimental design to determine the overall impact of the @LIKE program.

IMPAQ also performed a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) to determine whether, in addition to being effective in improving outcomes, the program resulted in positive net benefits. Two categories of benefits were considered: (1) direct benefits accruing to program participants because of attained outcomes; and (2) indirect benefits accruing to non-program entities. As a measure of cost, we computed the incremental per capita cost of the @LIKE program compared to “business as usual.” Under the assumption of a one-year time horizon and a social discount rate of 3 percent, the BCA revealed that the program’s per capita net benefits amount to $1,449. Overall, our findings support continuing investments in programs similar to @LIKE. More generally, the @LIKE context provides an example of how BCA can serve as a tool in the promotion of evidence-based decision-making for public policy concerning young adult training programs. This is essential to ensuring that the government is making the best use of taxpayers’ funds and deriving the maximum benefits for society.

3. Evaluating the Iowa's High Quality Jobs Program; Zhong Jin*, Iowa Department of Revenue

Iowa state governments awarded an average of $50 million a year on a High Quality Jobs program (HQJ) that intends to induce business investment and encourage job creation in Iowa through the use of subsidies and tax incentives. In this paper we use an estimation approach that is valid under relatively weak assumptions to measure the impact of HQJ projects on business investment decisions and local labor markets. The study also examines the fiscal impact of the HQJ program on Iowa’s budgets. The study finds indirect evidences that the tax incentives help local jurisdictions to induce business investments to local there. The study also finds that the HQJ program have positive, statistically significant, impacts on local labor markets in terms of the employment growth rate and the wage growth rate. The fiscal impact of the program is found to usually spread out a period over ten years.

My results are noteworthy for several reasons. First, most previous studies are either focus on the economic impacts of place-based economic development programs, or aimed to estimate the responses of businesses toward such programs. This study is one of the few to measure both the incentive effect and the welfare effect of a state placed-based economic development tax credit program. Second, this study is also one the first to analyze how fiscal impacts of the tax credit program spread out over a long period to influence the government budgets. While state governments increasingly face situations of very tight budgets, the findings add to our understanding of the efficacy and the cost of these business development tax expenditures. 

4. Examining the Costs and Benefits of Family Rewards 2.0; A Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Two American Cities; Timothy Rudd*, MDRC

Family Rewards was an innovative approach to poverty reduction in the United States that was modelled on the conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs common in lower- and middle-income countries. The program offered cash assistance to poor families to reduce immediate hardship, provided they met certain criteria related to family health care, children’s education, and parents’ work, in the hope of reducing poverty over the long term. The first version of Family Rewards was evaluated in New York City in 2007. The lessons learned from that evaluation led to the next iteration of the model (“Family Rewards 2.0”).

MDRC evaluated Family Rewards 2.0 through a randomized controlled trial involving about 1,200 families in each city, half of whom could receive the cash rewards and half of whom could not. This report presents the program’s costs and the economic value of the estimated effects over four years.

This benefit-cost analysis attempts to answer the following questions: How much did it cost to operate Family Rewards 2.0? Which components of the program were most and least expensive? What is the economic value of impacts on primary outcomes? Does the program produce a positive net present value? What is the benefit-cost ratio for the program? How do various types of uncertainty affect the benefit-cost conclusions?

The findings show that the level of effort required to support participants and process rewards, as well as the value of potential impacts on targeted outcomes, are primary drivers of success for CCT programs. Conditional cash payments are more likely to produce benefits in excess of program costs for taxpayers and society when the level of effort required to administer reward payments is low and the potential value of impacts on targeted outcomes is high.

E.5: Economic Evaluation Applications in Health Care and Public Health

Chair: Jamison Pike, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Presentations:

1.Estimating the Monetary Benefits of Medicare Eligibility for Reducing the Symptoms of Dementia; Robert Brent*, Fordham University

Dementia is a term used to describe various symptoms of cognitive decline, involving memory, language and thinking that are severe enough to affect daily activities. In 2015, worldwide, there were 897 million people aged 60 and over and 5.2% of these had dementia. Global costs of dementia were US$ 818 billion in 2015.

Given the prevalence and costs of this disease, it is important that interventions for dementia be identified and evaluated using cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to assess whether they are socially worthwhile. The challenge is to identify and quantify the benefits of interventions that can be shown to have a causal impact on dementia.

We adopt a three component method, based on the idea of cost-saving, for estimating the monetary benefits of Medicare eligibility for reducing dementia. The method involves Medicare eligibility lowering dementia, which reduces the need for dependent living, which in turn lowers caregiving costs. We use a varying slopes Regression Discontinuity approach first utilized by Card et al. (2008, 2009) that shows how dementia is affected by age before and after the 65 years cutoff for Medicare eligibility. The downward difference (discontinuity) between the before and after age slopes at the cutoff records any causal shift that Medicare eligibility has on dementia. Our data is based on a nationally representative sample of 12,239 participants with normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment and dementia at 32 Alzheimer’s Disease Centers. We use the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) Scale to measure dementia severity.

The novel aspect of the study comes from using a quality of life proxy measure for the utility function to derive the marginal rate of substitution between dementia reduction and dependent living arrangements. The main findings are that Medicare eligibility does causally reduce dementia and that this reduction can be valued at around $5,029 per person.

2. Economic Losses Associated with Oral Problems in the United States - Using the National Health Interview Survey, 2008; Uma Kelekar*, Marymount University; and Shillpa Naavaal, Virginia Commonwealth University

Poor oral health not only costs resources to treat associated diseases, but may also affect an individual’s earning potential. Due to oral health problems, apart from pain and discomfort, an individual may have additional financial or academic losses associated due to time lost from work or school. This study proposes to quantify the economic losses associated with oral health problems among families and children in the United States using the most recent Oral Health Supplement of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data available for year 2008. More specifically, the study will aim to first estimate the total number of work and school hours missed by employed individuals and school-going children aged 5-17 years due to dental visits. The hours lost in seeking planned or routine care along with unplanned/emergency care will be separately estimated. Furthermore, the missed hours will be reported across gender, age, race, education level, family income, and occupation. Using the wage or compensation data, the study will attempt to assess the economic losses associated with these missed hours for the working adult population. The findings of this study will be of particular interest to several audiences including individuals, businesses, schools, and the government.

3. Estimating Economic Value of Illnesses Impacted by Environmental Hazards; Ying Zhou*, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

In benefit cost analysis of public health programs, health outcomes need to be assigned monetary values to make them comparable and to determine if the improvement in health can offset the cost of the program.  There are two major approaches for estimating economic value of illnesses: Willingness-to-pay (WTP) and Cost of Illness (COI). WTP represents true cost of the illness compared to COI. However, WTP is more difficult to estimate and is currently available for a limited number of illnesses. In this study, we compared estimates in the literature using these two approaches. First, we compared results of WTP and COI estimates reported in the peer-reviewed literature when these two methods were applied to the same study participants. Second, we reviewed the availability and summarized valuations using these two approaches for three health endpoints impacted by environmental hazards: asthma, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, and lead poisoning. First, for the same study participants, studies reported WTP that were significantly higher than COI for minor and moderate cases. For more severe cases, where costs paid by insurance were substantial, COI could exceed WTP. Second, using COI approach, annual medical cost of asthma ranged from $800 to $3,300 and indirect costs ranged from $85 to $1,700. As a comparison, WTP to eliminate asthma symptoms ranged from $580 to $4,200 annually, though these estimates were for different study participants. We found no studies estimating WTP to avoid lead or CO poisoning. For lead poisoning, most studies focused on lead exposure and cognitive ability, and its impact on lifetime earnings. Cost of a CO poisoning hospitalization ranged from $10,000 to $17,000. For patients who sustained long-term cognitive sequela, lifetime earnings and quality of life losses can significantly exceed hospitalization costs.  

Conclusion: For asthma, more WTP studies are needed, particularly studies designed for conditions that involve third party payers. For CO poisoning and lead poisoning, WTP studies need to be conducted, so that more comprehensive and accurate economic valuation estimates can be provided. 

4. Estimated Savings to Medicaid Obtained by Substituting Electronic for Tobacco-Based Cigarettes; Richard Belzer*, Regulatory Checkbook

Health insurers cover most medical care costs, including those resulting from smoking. Coverage is limited to current year events, however, so private insurers have weak incentives to reward individuals for behavior that reduces future outlays. Government insurers such as Medicaid have different incentives. Financial exposure is long-lived even if participation is subject to considerable churn. “Vaping” administers similar doses of nicotine but offers substantial reductions in respiratory and cardiovascular risks. Thus, encouraging the substitution of vaping for smoking is expected to result in substantial long-term savings in the cost of providing medical care for Medicaid beneficiaries who smoke.

Under the Affordable Care Act, private insurers are permitted to impose substantial surcharges on smokers who choose to reveal themselves. (Outed smokers can avoid the surcharge by enrolling in a tobacco cessation program even if they are not serious about quitting.) Government insurers generally cannot charge smokers higher premiums or otherwise leverage their price responsiveness.

Federal and State tax policies actively leverage consumers’ price responsiveness to reduce tobacco consumption. Regulations restricting access to tobacco, or the venues in which it may be consumed, have implicit price effects. At the same time, governments have become reliant on revenues from tobacco taxes. Large revenue losses would result if domestic tobacco sales sharply declined.

Estimates will be provided of the net benefits to individuals and savings to the Medicaid program of switching from smoking to vaping and choosing to vape instead of smoke. State-level results will be presented to the extent feasible given data quality considerations. Sensitivity analyses will be performed where reliable literature is lacking, or uncertainty and variability inhibit precise estimation.

F.5: Evaluation and Ex-Post Impact Assessment in the EU – Methodology and Practice

Chair: Joseph Cordes, The George Washington University

Discussant: Reeve Bull, Administrative Conference of the United States

The chair will introduce the panelists and the discussant and provide some background for the discussions. The panel will feature three presentations from one representative of the European Commission and two representatives of the European Parliament, respectively. The first presentation will provide a succinct introduction into the way the EU Commission carries out its ex-post evaluations, the guidelines it uses and the main improvements of the 2015 Better Regulation Package, followed by a practical example of how the European Commission carries out retrospective evaluations. The second presentation will offer an overview of how the European Parliament exercises its oversight function as to how EU policies are implemented. The third presentation will outline Parliament’s setup and position, its legislative cycle and the methodology and practice of implementation reports and its research services in the area of ex-post impact assessment. Following the presentations the discussant will provide a short wrap-up, ask questions to each panellist and open up the discussion thereafter to the audience. 

Presentations:

1. Retrospective Evaluation as a Key Component of the EU’s Better Regulation Agenda and Recent Practical Examples; Geraldine Emberger*, European Commission

The first part of the presentation provides an overview of the instrumentarium the European Commission uses including ex post evaluations, fitness checks and the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT) to assess how a specific intervention has performed and decide whether and how it should be adjusted to improve its effectiveness, relevance and coherence or to eliminate excessive burdens. The second part of the presentation will serve to illustrate how ex post evaluation works in practice, showcasing a real life example to which the guidelines have been/are being applied, including forward planning, choice of a relevant regulatory act/several relevant acts for review, evaluation, consultations carried out, role of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board, etc.   

The EU Commission's Better Regulation Guidelines provide guidance to services ("Directorate Generals") when developing regulations and legislative proposals. They cover the whole policy cycle – policy design and preparation, adoption; implementation (transposition, complementary non-regulatory actions), application (including enforcement), evaluation and revision. Two and a half years into its mandate, the Juncker Commission is on track to deliver on its ambitious better regulation agenda. A major reform of the Guidelines was carried out in 2015 and the 2016 Inter-institutional Agreement on Better Law-making reached by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission marks a significant step forward in the culture of better regulation. 

2. The European Parliament’s Scrutiny Toolbox for Transposition and Implementation; Irmgard Anglmayer*, European Parliament 

Scrutiny and oversight is an important function of parliaments. This is also true for the European Parliament, whose scrutiny powers are set out in the EU Treaties. One of the key areas where Parliament exercises an oversight function over the executive is the follow-up of how EU policies are implemented of EU policies as enshrined in the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU, programs and legislation. To this aim, the European Parliament has established a number of scrutiny tools to assist its committees in their scrutiny work. In particular, some of these tools have been developed by the EP Research Services, like initial appraisals of the state of implementation of all legislative acts the European Commission has put forward for revision, or rolling check-lists on transposition deadlines and review/reporting clauses in EU legislation, including international agreements. This presentation provides an overview of the European Parliament’s ‘scrutiny toolbox’, explaining their rationale and practical application. Implementation reports, as outlined in the next presentation, are just one of them, albeit the most important.

3. Ex-Post Impact Assessment at the European Parliament; Sten Ramstedt*, European Parliament

As part of its general oversight function over the European Commission, the European Parliament began to develop a capacity for ex-post impact assessment/evaluation in 2013. This move was prompted by a parliamentary report adopted in 2011, which invited Parliament to set-up its own integrated impact assessment capacity ‘throughout the whole policy cycle, from design to implementation, enforcement, evaluation and to the revision of legislation’. In particular, the European Parliament makes use of its own ex-post evaluation tool, the so-called ‘implementation reports’. These own-initiative reports, drawn up by parliamentary committees, seek to establish how a piece of EU legislation, designed in theory, performs in practice and why that is so. Once voted in Plenary, they form Parliament’s position on the performance of that particular piece of legislation. If Parliament finds that an act requires revision, the adopted resolution contains a call upon the European Commission to act. The latter is bound to inform Parliament of its follow-up, or to justify any non-action. In this respect, and in the context of the Commission’s quasi-monopoly to initiate legislation, Parliament’s implementation reports are at the same time a scrutiny and an agenda-setting tool. To ensure implementation reports are evidence-based and accurate, committees are entitled to analytical support provided by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) in form of ‘European Implementation Assessments’. These strictly non-partisan background studies help members to take informed decisions. This paper outlines the practice and methodology of Parliament’s research services in the area of ex-post impact assessment.