12 Mar 2014

Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Regulation

Andrea Renda / Lorna Schrefler / Giacomo Luchetta / Roberto Zavatta


In 2013, the Commission tendered a study to review different methods for estimating costs and benefits within its integrated approach to impact assessment. The study was intended to define various types of costs and benefits, identify different methods of estimation and provide an overview of their strengths and weaknesses. 

The resulting study on "Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Regulation" was prepared by the Centre for European Policy Studies and Economisti Associati. The study will provide an input to the upcoming revision of the European Commission Impact Assessment Guidelines, but neither prefigures their content nor commits the European Commission. 

The study is structured as follows. Section 1 provides a taxonomy of costs and benefits based on existing literature and guidance documents, adapted to the EU context. Section 2 illustrates the most common methods being used at national level to assess the costs and benefits of regulation. It provides an evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as guidance on when, how, and with what data they can be most usefully employed in impact assessments. In Section 3, the authors build on the previous sections to translate their findings into suggested guidance on when and how to perform cost-benefit analysis of EU policy proposals. Section 4 concludes by summarising the peculiar aspects and limitation associated with the assessment of costs and benefits at the EU level. 

Download the study here.