Impact Evaluation of Food Safety Regulations: A Review of Quantitative Methods
Recently regulatory evaluation performed by the European Commission has been reviewed in response to the call for more evidence-based policy making and “Better Regulation”, which requires instruments to support the adoption of more effective and efficient regulations, as well as an improved coordination of policy interventions across the economic, social and environmental dimensions (European Commission, 2002). At the same time, there is a demand for clarity in the methods used to evaluate the impacts of regulations. While there is an ongoing debate on the methodological frameworks that are or could be used to assess the overall impact of regulations, our focus here is on the quantitative techniques that measure the economic effects and estimate the monetary values of non-market effects. This is especially relevant in policy areas like that of food safety, where a wide variety of alternative techniques are used to measure the same impact, often with very different or even conflicting results. Food safety regulations generate different effects to different economic actors along the food chain, covering more than a policy area, like health protection, competition, trade and environment. The aim of this study is to review and discuss the quantitative methodologies applied to assess the socio-economic impacts of food safety regulations in a selection of studies found in the literature available to date1. The paper is structured as follows. First, we propose a classification of potential impacts relevant in food safety regulations, based on the European Commission Impact Assessment Guidelines (2005). Then, we associate each impact with the methodologies used in the literature. An overview of the methodologies is presented, highlighting strengths and weaknesses; methodologies not currently used but potentially exploitable in food safety regulatory assessments are briefly described. In the fourth section, we add further information about the evaluation studies, by specifying stage of assessment, level of analysis, type of data required, and geographical scope of analysis. Final considerations conclude the review.
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