Information and Government: Studies in the Dynamics of Policy-Making

Information and Government: Studies in the Dynamics of Policy-Making

Information and Government: Studies in the Dynamics of Policy-Making

Information and Government: Studies in the Dynamics of Policy-Making

Excerpt

The relationship between information and government has in recent years provided the focus for considerable debate amongst social scientists. Two main issues have been in contention; whether or not information (both descriptive and evaluative) produced by government and by private agencies is influential in the process of policy-making, and if so, whether its function is innovative or reactive and conservative.

Many studies have argued that there is little discernible link between the pattern of empirical information at the disposal of policy-makers and the shape of legislation; that such a link assumes a rational and consensual decision-making process which has never existed, and that shifts in the content and direction of research and investigation are more a function than a cause of shifts in policy.

This lack of influence has been attributed to the ideological and institutional structure of decision-making and to a range of informational pathologies within the machinery of government. From this viewpoint, problems are identified and policy options validated within a complex framework of ideas upon which the impact of empirical research is negligible, the more so as the producers and users of information often operate within conflicting frames of reference as to the utility of information. Investigators and statisticians tend to view decision-making as a rational, data- orientated process at odds with the political and administrative reality of the corridors of power.

In addition, it has been argued that many areas of social and economic policy lack an agreed theoretical framework which would enable descriptive research and information to play a prescriptive role and to override the predilections of policy-makers in the formulation of measures; while the impact of evaluative research into legislative programmes is arguably minimised by the reluctance of senior administrators, even under the most programmatic . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.