MEPP’s team created an informative cartoon explaining Regulatory Improvement, a complicated topic that impacts citizens and business across Mexico. In Mexico, obtaining a Federal Taxpayer Registration sheet — the equivalent of a U.S. Social Security card or taxpayer ID number — can require multiple forms, long waits in line, and several frustrating trips to government offices.
Inconsistent regulations, confusing paperwork, and bureaucratic red tape — all summed up by the Spanish word, trámite — burden citizens and businesses seeking permits, approvals, or other certifications. This situation can vary among states and municipalities, making it harder to get documents in some locations than others.
To promote open government and lower bureaucratic barriers, Mexico is on the verge of enacting the General Law for Regulatory Improvement to create a legislative mandate for states to comply with regulatory transparency and accountability. To encourage reform, Mexico’s Center for Private Sector Economic Studies established an online platform which acts as a government watchdog for citizens and businesses, known as the Observatorio Regulatorio. That’s where Abt Associates entered, through its management of USAID’s Mexico Economic Policy Program (MEPP).
Ranking Mexico’s States on Regulatory Reform
Abt helped develop the Observatory’s indicators, which rate states and municipalities in regulatory policy implementation, institutions established to coordinate and implement reform, and how well states are simplifying trámites and cutting through bureaucratic inefficiency.
Through the online platform — ONMR.org — citizens can check their state’s progress on regulatory reforms and commitments to implement the reform. Current or potential business owners can use the platform to weigh the advantages of different locations — an important incentive to push governments towards reform. For instance, in 2017, the Observatory showed Nayarit ranked the lowest of Mexico’s 32 states for regulatory reform, a cumulative 0.24 of 5, while Morelos ranked the highest at 3.01, followed by Nuevo León at 2.99.
To persuade government officials to inform the indicators, Abt used a gamification questionnaire to make the lengthy process fun and inspire participants to compete with each other. The Federal Commission on Regulatory Improvement (COFEMER) was a key government ally for the MEPP team as Abt’s User Experience (UX) methods shaped the questionnaire with civil servants, collecting high volumes of information to inform the indicators.
To further push the case for reform, we explained the complicated issue of regulatory improvement, how it affects lives and businesses, and monitoring tools available to citizens. A short cartoon, which COFEMER used to explain the issue of Regulatory Improvement, walks viewers through the impact of regulatory and procedural barriers, the importance of reform, and the Observatorio.