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Regulatory Reform: Case Studies on Promoting Innovation

Client: APEC Policy Support Unit
Regulatory Reform Paper
Project date

Background: Innovation can help sustain and promote growth through its capacity to raise competitiveness, diversify economies and offer higher value-added goods and services. However, regulation can influence innovation both positively and negatively. In recent years, APEC has supported regulatory reform in member economies through developing a better understanding of the link between regulation and innovation.

In 2014, Sustineo was engaged to help better understand the role of regulatory reforms and practices in the promotion of innovation. Through the development of three case studies, Sustineo’s team investigated the ability of regulatory reforms to enhance innovation and economic growth and identified recommendations to enhance reform in practice for relevant implementing agencies.

Approach: Sustineo’s approach used a coherent analytical framework across the three case studies to consider the impact of specific regulations on innovation, drawing on the OECD-APEC Integrated Checklist on Regulatory Reform and the Good Regulatory Practices criteria. The case studies focused on diverse industries: utility patents in Korea, pharmaceutical clinical trials in Malaysia, and urban water supply and re-use in Singapore and Australia. These case studies were developed using a combination of critical literature analysis and semi-structured interviews during fieldwork with stakeholders from across government, research and industry sectors to explore key issues from the literature. A total of 34 people were interviewed as part of the project.

Outcome: Sustineo produced a comprehensive research report that investigated the linkages between regulatory reform, innovation and economic capacity building. This included a high-level summary of key findings common to, and varying between, each sector and country context. The final report provided a clear distillation of lessons learned in order to inform both industrialised and developing member economies, and help them to improve their performance. In February 2016, the project’s principal consultant, Dr Lyndal Thorburn, presented the findings to the APEC Senior Officers’ Meeting held in Lima, Peru. The final report is available here.