Rationalising the policy mess? Ex ante policy assessment and the utilisation of knowledge in the policy process

Hertin, Julia, Turnpenny, John, Jordan, Andrew ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7678-1024, Nilsson, Mans, Russel, Duncan and Nykvist, Björn (2009) Rationalising the policy mess? Ex ante policy assessment and the utilisation of knowledge in the policy process. Environment and Planning A, 41 (5). pp. 1185-1200. ISSN 0308-518X

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Procedures for the ex ante assessment of public policies are currently in vogue across the OECD. Their design is typically informed by a rational-instrumental model of problem solving, which assumes that knowledge is collected, evaluated, and then translated straightforwardly into ‘better policies’. But this model has been little affected by more than three decades of academic research which has demonstrated that the reality of everyday policy making is far messier. In this paper we analyse whether the uptake of ex ante assessment of policies is nonetheless capable of creating opportunities for policy deliberation and learning informed by new assessment knowledge. Drawing on an analysis of policy assessment procedures in three countries and the European Union, we find that there are several ways in which assessment knowledge is used in the policy process. Moreover, we argue that policy learning occurs despite, rather than because of, the instrumental design of new assessment procedures, which tends to act as a barrier to open deliberation and knowledge utilisation.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: University of East Anglia > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Political, Social and International Studies
Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia > Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Depositing User: Users 2731 not found.
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2011 11:56
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2023 12:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/34873
DOI: 10.1068/a40266

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