INDECOPI has implemented a new project called “Voluntary Removal of Regulatory Barriers to Competition” based on the use of social norms in official documents and data dashboards to monitor the removal of bureaucratic barriers across the country. Through this, civil servants compare their performance in eliminating barriers with their peers and adapt their behavior towards high-quality regulation.
To respond effectively and efficiently to the new challenges of governments, the agencies and specifically civil servants must collaborate to create favorable conditions in the market, considering the sanitary emergency and the necessary economic recovery in Peru. This requires the creation of mechanisms that nudge institutions towards high-quality regulation.
In this context, the INDECOPI started a new project called “Voluntary Removal of Regulatory Barriers to Competition”. This innovation uses social norms in official documents and data dashboards to monitor the removal of bureaucratic barriers across the country.
The objectives of this project are:
- Include social norm messages in official documents to modify the behavior of civil servants by comparing them to their peers in the elimination of regulatory barriers to competition.
- Decrease the average time for eliminating bureaucratic barriers to competition and support the economic recovery in Peru.
- Communicate and take advantage of the incentives for the elimination of bureaucratic barriers in Peru.
According to the first objective, INDECOPI proposes the incorporation of behavioral economics tools (specifically the use of “nudges”) in the design of the official documents sent to the investigated institutions as an innovative solution. The design incorporates messages -withing the letters of inquiry- about the behavior of other entities and emphasizes the incentives of voluntary elimination to promote better regulations benefiting companies and citizens.
About the second objective, before launching the project, data showed that institutions eliminated bureaucratic barriers in more than 80 working days, which means that a person needs to wait around four months to access the market, for instance. This delay has happened despite the legal duty to comply with the INDECOPI´s mandate, which is compulsory since the day after being notified.
Among the main reasons for the delay, it can be pointed out the erroneous perception about the elimination of bureaucratic barriers in government institutions. For example, civil servants believe that only a few public servitors are involved in the process of bureaucratic barriers. However, statistics show that most entities achieve the voluntary elimination of their barriers (86%) once they are reached.
According to the results of the project, there was a considerable reduction in the average time for eliminating bureaucratic barriers. Public entities that were part of the treatment group voluntarily removed their bureaucratic barriers in 28 working days. This “timing” indicator decreased since it was possible to implement a new design in the official documents comparing institutions. It should be pointed out that during the project implementation, a total of 1084 bureaucratic barriers of 34 institutions were eliminated. It should be noted that we used propensity score matching to carry out the impact assessment.
In addition, to monitor the project and how it develops over time, we have implemented the use of dashboards and pivot tables to track, measure, review, and control the results and also prioritize based on evidence the new institutions to treat with the social norms.
Regarding the civil servant's incentives for the elimination of bureaucratic barriers, the project proposes to enhance the three positive rankings for entities and public servitors in the first document sent to the entity: (i) ranking of institutions (ii) ranking of preventive actions, and (iii) ranking of civil servants, which includes a public award at a national ceremony.
The ranking of institutions seeks to encourage the desire for general participation by rewarding with national recognition and official certification to entities that participate in the project. The ranking of preventive actions proposes that the final product delivered from the project should be reported internally to the different areas of the entities for the socialization of the new norms of their administrative procedures. Finally, the ranking of civil servants is intended to generate healthy competition among them for inclusion in an official ranking that will benefit their curriculum.
In this way, we benefit not only citizens but also public servitors involved in the elimination process since they are going to receive public recognition for the elimination of bureaucratic barriers.
In essence, the pilot was successful in giving a new perception to public servants about the elimination of bureaucratic barriers enhancing the opportunities to create favorable conditions for the market, supporting the economic recovery in Peru, reducing the time for eliminating bureaucratic barriers, and getting recognition for these actions.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
The project implemented by INDECOPI is an innovation because it aims to minimize biases civil servants can have about their peers. Likewise, this project nudge institutions to voluntarily remove regulatory barriers to competition. In the context of an economic recovery, we employ behavioral economics tools and data science to accomplish objectives more efficiently and effectively.
Through behavioral insights, we nudge civil servants to change their behavior, and as result, we remove bureaucratic barriers and create better conditions for the market. In this context, the project designed and sent documents with a new design that include messages of social norms. Through data science, we recollect evidence about the behavior of other entities, and we found the perfect comparison for every government institution. We design dashboards to monitor the voluntary removal and evaluate the effect of comparing an institution with others with better performance and close geographically.
What is the current status of your innovation?
The project ended in December 2022. In that understanding, INDECOPI through the technical secretariat for the elimination of bureaucratic barriers will keep promoting the voluntary removal of regulatory barriers to competition.
The maturity achieved shows us a good reception and legitimacy when contacting entities and their officials, therefore we will disseminate the practice with other areas of INDECOPI for its application and institutionalization of the project. We will continue to train officials in the promotion of voluntary elimination.
Collaborations & Partnerships
The project involved the participation of two allied teams:
- Innovation Team: In charge of the design of the document based on the bias identified, and the design of the follow-up tools such as dashboards.
- Research Team: In charge of implementing the project, based on the tools designed. They also coordinate with the institution for the voluntary removal of bureaucratic barriers.
The coordination between these two teams has been crucial to control and monitor the project.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
The beneficiaries of this practice are companies, university students, members of professional associations, and the general public since regulatory barriers can affect all of them.
For instance, companies might encounter barriers to accessing or remaining in the market. College students assumed onerous procedures for graduation and degree completion. Members of professional associations had to compile open-access documentation for professional practice in the labor market.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
To measure the results we use Propensity Score Matching, and the results showed that this project caused a reduction in the average time to remove bureaucratic barriers to 28 working days. State entities that received the newly designed document and received personalized assistance by INDECOPI during the process of voluntary removal of bureaucratic barriers managed to reduce the removal time by 71% compared to those state entities that received a former standard document.
During the intervention, 1084 bureaucratic barriers were eliminated thanks to the management of 34 state entities. These results deliver a major impact to encourage other state entities that carry out supervisory activities to use data science tools and others such as behavioral economics to reduce costs and strengthen their labor.
Challenges and Failures
- Ensure the understanding of the new design of documents by work team members.
- Difficulty in establishing communication with civil servants of the different state entities under legal research.
- High staff turnover slows coordination and management to achieve barrier elimination.
- Failed agreements due to loss of coordination with civil servants designated by the entity for diverse circumstances such as a reluctant mindset or staff turnover that results in time spent on standardized meetings and calls being wasted.
Conditions for Success
The main conditions for success are:
- The level of trust the authorities that drive the resources can have in the project.
- The initial coordination of managers and workers in the use of the necessary physical and computer tools.
- Constant communication and expertise in the use of work resources and information gathering.
- Migration from the traditional model to a more intelligent one, in which those involved use data dashboards and goals in the economic sectors in which they work and guide.
- Persevering guidance and follow-up in stages between area leaders and workers.
- The constant guidance of the updated regulations of the government and its public policies.
- Detailed monitoring of short-term productivity that allows for feedback and the correction of errors on the fly.
- The level of commitment between civil servants of the government institutions and INDECOPI for a responsible collaboration.
Government institutions have similar problems at different levels with common solutions. The level of replicability of this project is very high in the areas of oversight and others related to cooperation across different institutions in a country.
In this project, we use behavioral tools to nudge civil servants to adapt their behavior towards high-quality regulation. In other words, the main idea of the project is to focus on assertive communication and promote cooperation between different institutions at different levels of a country.
Through a new form of communication using official documents, we achieve the voluntary removal of regulatory barriers to competition. Other institutions can use these tools to nudge other behaviors. The results show that the use of behavioral insights and data science would contribute to the work of other institutions that need a cooperative relationship to achieve results.
The experience with the voluntary bureaucratic barrier removal program can be summarized as follows:
- Understand the public servant's behavior and biases.
- Assimilate that the supervisor's function is not only to verify the result but also to get involved with the supervisee's work for a win-win relationship.
- Constant updating and training allow for the strengthening of the project.
- Innovative performance motivates the creativity of the work team.
- The distribution of tasks based on real-time information accomplishes more efficient achievements.
It is important to mention that we implemented data dashboards for the effective monitoring of the implementation and the correct use of the new document design. This shows us in real-time the status of the cases treated and the advance of the voluntary removal of regulatory competitions across the country. The dashboard is fed with information recorded in the research monitoring matrix.
Besides, we used rankings that are published by INDECOPI to reinforce the idea of comparison and promote fair competition between government institutions related to this matter.
- Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways
7 February 2023