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The precautionary principle and regulatory impact assessment: on the need for initial screening of hazards in regulatory work with examples from transport


  • Nerhagen, Lena

    () (CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI))

  • Forsstedt, Sara

    (The Swedish Transport Agency)

  • Edvardsson, Karin

    (The Swedish Transport Agency)


To achieve effective regulation, the OECD and the European Commission recommend the use of regulatory impact assessment (RIA). The full RIA process has however not been implemented in Sweden. There is for example a lack of established practices at the national level for the analysis of risk in regulatory work. Instead, soft law in the form of management by objective systems is guiding transport and environmental policy. These systems were introduced in the end of the 1990s following the international discussion on the precautionary principle. According to findings in other countries, policy making based on the precautionary principle may result in unexpected and unwanted consequences and therefore, based on a literature review and an assessment of current practices in transport regulation in Sweden, we suggest the use of an initial screening of hazards in regulatory work. We also apply the proposed method to four transport related case studies to illustrate how an initial assessment can provide the basis for an informed discussion on what hazards to counteract with regulation and on what grounds.

Suggested Citation

  • Nerhagen, Lena & Forsstedt, Sara & Edvardsson, Karin, 2018. "The precautionary principle and regulatory impact assessment: on the need for initial screening of hazards in regulatory work with examples from transport," Working papers in Transport Economics 2018:14, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ctswps:2018_014

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    More about this item


    precautionary principle; risk assessment; hazards; regulatory impact assessment;

    JEL classification:

    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General

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