Ex-ante Institutional Compatibility Assessment of Policy Options - a Case Study on the Nitrate Directive in Auvergne, France
Abstract: The Procedure for Institutional Compatibility Assessment (PICA) has been developed as a formalised methodology to predict the compatibility between a policy option and the institutional context of its implementation. As a first empirical test of the tool, PICA was applied to the implementation of the EU Nitrate Directive in Allier and Puy-de-Dôme, Auvergne, France. The procedure proved to be a valuable tool for the ex-ante identification of institutional factors affecting the implementation of the Directive in the study areas. Further, the empirical application helped to evaluate the procedure from a methodological perspective. The ability of PICA to "predict" ex-ante the institutional constraints to the implementation of a policy option and the capacity of the tool to account for differences between distinct institutional contexts were highlighted. Finally, valuable insights were acquired on the choice of qualitative methods and the integration of stakeholders’ points of view for the collection of the information needed at each step of the assessment.