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The political use of knowledge in the policy process

  • The role of knowledge in the policy process remains a central theoretical puzzle in policy analysis and political science. This article argues that an important yet missing piece of this puzzle is the systematic exploration of the political use of policy knowledge. While much of the recent debate has focused on the question of how the substantive use of knowledge can improve the quality of policy choices, our understanding of the political use of knowledge and its effects in the policy process has remained deficient in key respects. A revised conceptualization of the political use of knowledge is introduced that emphasizes how conflicting knowledge can be used to contest given structures of policy authority. This allows the analysis to differentiate between knowledge creep and knowledge shifts as two distinct types of knowledge effects in the policy process. While knowledge creep is associated with incremental policy change within existing policy structures, knowledge shifts are linked to more fundamental policy change in situationsThe role of knowledge in the policy process remains a central theoretical puzzle in policy analysis and political science. This article argues that an important yet missing piece of this puzzle is the systematic exploration of the political use of policy knowledge. While much of the recent debate has focused on the question of how the substantive use of knowledge can improve the quality of policy choices, our understanding of the political use of knowledge and its effects in the policy process has remained deficient in key respects. A revised conceptualization of the political use of knowledge is introduced that emphasizes how conflicting knowledge can be used to contest given structures of policy authority. This allows the analysis to differentiate between knowledge creep and knowledge shifts as two distinct types of knowledge effects in the policy process. While knowledge creep is associated with incremental policy change within existing policy structures, knowledge shifts are linked to more fundamental policy change in situations when the structures of policy authority undergo some level of transformation. The article concludes by identifying characteristics of the administrative structure of policy systems or sectors that make knowledge shifts more or less likely.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Falk DaviterORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11077-015-9232-y
ISSN:0032-2687 (print)
ISSN:1573-0891 (online)
Parent Title (English):Policy sciences : integrating knowledge and practice to advance human dignity
Publisher:Springer
Place of publication:Dordrecht
Document Type:Preprint
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2015
Year of Completion:2015
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Evidence-based policy making; Knowledge creep; Knowledge utilization; Organizational epistemology; Punctuated equilibrium theory
Volume:48
Issue:4
Pagenumber:15
First Page:491
Last Page:505
Organizational units:Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert