Assessing Policy III: Regulatory Impact Assessment
In this chapter, we expound the concept of regulatory impact assessment (RIA) with a special focus on media policies and regulations. First, we shed light on what RIA is in general and on which theoretical foundations it has been developed and can be analyzed itself. Why has RIA become a common practice? While answering this question we show up the tensions between the perspectives of rational choice based Principal–Agent Theory and theories of democratic governance on RIA. Second, we give an overview on how the processes of RIA are conceptualized and assess recent developments in empirical and conceptual literature on RIA methods. We highlight the main challenges when assessing regulations regarding their impacts, namely the definition of goals and objectives of different policy options (conceptualization), the identification of the impact dimensions and relations to look at (modeling) and the methods to do so (operationalization), the deeper analysis of this relations and the valuation of the regulation based on that analysis (implementation). In addition to that, we critically assess the impact of RIA itself on the outcome of regulative processes. Third, we introduce and compare the procedures and recommendations for RIA of the EU and the OECD. Then, we focus on media regulation and present two cases in which RIA has been applied on proposals of the EU Commission for directives addressing audiovisual media services. Based on that, we finally propose some suggestions for researchers involved with RIA and on improving RIA in general when it comes to media regulation.
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