LegImpact – Legislative output as a means of achieving public policy: quantitative and socio-economic impact analysis


Project Summary
In the context of the Rule of Law, legislative power is a tool at the service of the implementation of public policies defined at national level and, in cases such as the Portuguese one, also at supranational level. In this sense, the way it is exercised and the acts produced in the exercise of this function should be subject to scrutiny by citizens, who are simultaneously addressees of the norms produced and addressees of the public policies that justify them.

The importance of the accountability of the exercise of legislative power justified the creation of the Observatory of Portuguese Legislation in 2005, with the objective of contributing to the reflection on the quality of legislative policy through the analysis of Portuguese legislative production in quantitative terms (volume, distribution by type of diploma, by legislative body, by subject matter, by type of legislative initiative), a project that is still innovative and pioneering in Portugal today.

The aim now is to go beyond this global characterisation by recording more precise indicators on aspects of the methodology used in the preparation of laws: a) the frequency of and reasons for amendments made to legislative acts; b) the frequency of rectifications; c) compliance with the duty to regulate and the deadlines for doing so; c) procedures for consultation and participation in the drafting of laws. For this purpose, a relational database of the Portuguese legislation was built, which will allow the visualisation, for each diploma, of all the information regarding all the diplomas related to it. The aim of this relational database, which is intended to be freely accessible, is to provide an overview of the legislation in Portugal, which sets it apart from other existing legislative databases. It will be possible to compare and verify the evolution, over the years, of the quantity of legislative acts published, the influence of European Union Law on national law, as well as the evolution of other indicators already mentioned.

Furthermore, it is intended to create a mechanism to evaluate the fulfilment of the material objectives of public policies through which legislation created at national level will be analysed in terms of its success in achieving the public policy that underlies it, that is, the creation of aggregate net benefits. This analysis aims to identify the de facto situation prior to the introduction of a particular legislative measure and to study the latter from the point of view of the possible context costs created and friction costs introduced, so as to verify whether the legislative instrument used to implement the public policy has met its objectives or whether, on the contrary, by making the decision-making environment of its addressees more difficult, it has created impediments to its own successful implementation. In the end, it is intended to identify the aggregate net benefit of the measure taking into account the objectives that were targeted by it.

NOVA School of Law/CEDIS (Proposing Institution)
Institute for Legal and Political Sciences of the Lisbon University Faculty of Law
ISCTE-Lisbon University Institute

List of members of the Research Team
Francisco Maria Gil Fernandes Pereira Coutinho (Senior Researcher)
João Tiago Valente Almeida da Silveira (Co-responsible Researcher)
Manuel Francisco Magalhães Cabugueira
Pedro Brito Veiga Moniz Lopes
Sónia Cristina Carvalho Rodrigues
Raquel Helena Veiga Saraiva Franco Moniz
Pierre Henri Guibentif
Miguel José Pinto Tavares Moura e Silva
Doctoral Researcher – to contract
Research Grant Holder (Master) – to be hired
Research Grant Holder (Licenciate) – to be hired
Scientific Initiation Grant Holder – to be hired

36 months (from 1 September 2018 to 31 August 2021)

Funding institution: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia
Amount of Funding: 208,641.05 euros

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