Carlos Pereira, Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration at Getulio Vargas Foundation

Séminaire académique La Chaire Recherche

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A 411, Dauphine

Who needs RIA? Regulatory Impact Analysis as a strategic shield against political interferences

Carlos Pereira

All governments, regardless of their political or ideological flavour, face a crucial dilemma between independence and control of regulatory agencies. This dilemma is particularly relevant when there is an alternation of power with the arrival of a new political elite with preferences different from those of the predecessor. The main objective of this manuscript is to investigate the extent to which Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) could be perceived by civil servants of the agencies as a tool to protect their interests against the risk of potential external interference from the government. The methodological strategy adopted was to apply an experimental survey with the agencies’ career civil servants. The randomised experiment had two treatment groups (with and without manipulation of political interference) and a control group (no manipulation at all). A total of 104 responses were received from workers of six regulatory agencies in Brazil. The survey results indicate that, despite the mandatory nature of the RIA, when civil servants perceive that the regulatory agency is under threat of executive interference, they deploy it as a mechanism to protect their preferences. The overwhelming majority of respondents were in favour of using the RIA and see this instrument as a shield against potential external interference in the performance of the agencies, especially regarding the risks of non-continuity in office of directors appointed by previous governments.

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