Claims for evidence-based policy-making are motivated by the assumption that if practitioners and scholars want to learn about effective policy design, they also can. In this paper – which was awarded the Lasswell Prize for the best publication in the Journal Policy Sciences in 2018 – we argue that this is becoming more and more challenging with the conventional approaches due to the accumulation of national policy portfolios, characterized by (a) a growing number of different policy targets and instruments, that (b) are often interdependent and (c) reformed in an uncontrolled way. These factors undermine our ability to accurately relate outcome changes to individual components within the respective policy mix. Therefore, policy accumulation becomes an additional source of the well-known ‘attribution problem’ in evaluation research. We argue that policy accumulation poses fundamental challenges to existing approaches of evidence-based policy-making. Moreover, these challenges are very likely to create a trade-off between the need for increasing methodological sophistication on one side, and the decreasing political impact of more fine-grained and conditional findings of evaluation results on the other.
Upcoming Workshop: What Next for the State? General Trends and Challenges for Democratic Policy-Making
I am happy to announce that we are convening a workshop at the Center for Advanced Studies at the LMU Munich for 26. - 27. June 2017.
The workshop tries to explore current trends and challenges for democratic policy-making. Specifically, the workshop is motivated by the observation that in response to societal demands and problem-solving requirements, all modern democracies have piled up an enormous number of laws, policies, and public programs over the years that deeply affect all aspects of life and even death for their citizens. At the same time, however, the steady accumulation of rules and policies also creates challenges for three cornerstones of democractic governance: the ability to implement and enforce public policies, the ability to evaluate policies' effectiveness, and the ability to have sophisticated policy debates in the public arena. We are looking forward to discuss these issues with the following workshop participants: Christian Breunig (Konstanz / CAS Visiting Fellow), Isabelle Engeli (Bath / CAS Visiting Fellow), Peter John (University College London), Fritz Sager (Bern), Esther Versluis (Maastricht), and Frank Nullmeier (Bremen).
If you are interested in attending, please refer to this link:
My colleagues and I want to thank the Cologne Institute for Economic Research for this year's award for the best published paper on the topic of bureaucracy. Our paper has attempted to measure the extent of rule growth across 23 OECD countries in the areas of environmental and social policy over a period of 30 years. We find that those countries which are perceived to have rather weak executives and administrative structures have been subjected to a particularly strong growth of rules in this area. This is potentially worrisome as it raises of question of whether this will not give rise to systematically expanding implementation deficits.
We congratulate Niels Hegewisch with whom we share the price and, of course, thank the jury which included Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Martin Hellwig, Prof. Dr. Michael Hüther, Dr. Johannes Ludewig, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Renate Mayntz, and Prof. Dr. Daniel Zimmer. Finally, we thank the organizers for a great award ceremony as well as Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Paul Kirchhof for an inspirational keynote speech.
If you are interested in the paper, please write me an e-mail or use this link:
An interview with me in the iwd (in German) is available here:
And the respective press release can be found here:
link to pdf