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Author: Iván Medina

This chapter explores the contribution of the main business associations in Spain to the analysis of public policies and the definition of business interests. First, the chapter presents a historical review of Spanish business associationism with the purpose of pointing out the deficits of business collective action until the advent of democracy in 1978. Since then, disputes between business associations for institutional representation have conditioned the number of qualified voices that speak on behalf of the business class. The chapter argues that the associative typology matters when it comes to selecting topics, methods, and media presence. While the CEOE is the business association with the greatest potential and resources for policy analysis and monitoring, other associations focus on sectoral issues and speak to specific audiences.

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In this chapter we look at the relationship between international organisations and domestic policy analysis in Spain. We do this by focusing on crisis management relations of the two most recent transborder crises: the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with the objectives of this edited volume we interrogate whether international organisations act as promoters or as producers of policy analysis and the factors that might facilitate or prevent this role. We claim that international organisations have a differentiated role depending on the type of crisis, the policy domains to which they pertain, and the degree of sovereignty exercised at state level. While policy actions of European institutions during the Great Recession took the form of coercion, the World Health Organization acted as ‘teachers of norms and policies’ during the COVID-19 crisis.

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This chapter focuses on the development of policy analysis tools, mostly policy evaluation and assessment. Spain has a fairly long tradition – albeit not a continuous one – of policy evaluation, starting in the late 18th century, but it has undergone important institutional shifts and setbacks, which reflect major political conflicts. Up until the mid-19th century the major contributions to designing and implementing policies came from outstanding individuals. This was followed by an era of parliamentary commissions that provided a political space to advocate for conflicting interests, a model that later became institutionalised. During World War I a new formula for evaluating and designing policies emerged: the research bureau. Under the Franco dictatorship, the development of policy evaluation suffered a major setback. There was no interest in promoting institutions to assess public policy. Given the very nature of the Franco regime, these institutions only emerged when they were promoted by business leaders and lobbies. As relations with Western countries improved and technocrats became more important in Franco’s government, more policy evaluation was developed and a new university-trained elite took care of it. They became very influential after Franco’s death.

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In Western countries NGOs have had little involvement in the formulation of public policies, and their intervention has been more consultative in nature. This has been the case especially in Spain. During the last three decades Spanish NGOs have been included as policy advisors in government and parliamentary venues, increasing the possibility to translate their policy expertise and knowledge. In this chapter, we explain the evolution of this trend and present evidence of their role as policy analysis partners in Spanish politics. We show that notwithstanding their consolidation in general terms, few have access to funds or economic resources, either private or public, and lack the capacity to develop policy analysis. A small group of NGOs concentrate on economic resources and therefore have a greater capacity to recruit staff dedicated to policy analysis. In essence, this club of rich and big NGOs allocates continuous and daily resources to develop information for public policy analysis. The vast majority, however, of small NGOs does not have specialised internal advocacy or reporting units for policy analysis purposes.

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This chapter explores the role of parliamentary committees as policy analysis institutions in Spain for the period 1982–2019. First, it looks at the main characteristics and types of parliamentary committees, illustrating that a partisan rather than fact-driven type of analysis is likely to prevail in their policy analysis tasks. Second, it explores the scope of policy analysis providing detailed information on the variety of issues on which they have conducted activities. Increasing issue diversity illustrates the expansion of the regulatory dimension of the state, partisan preferences, variations in the type of government but also the result of cultural and social changes. The third and fourth sections explore the purpose of policy analysis by focusing on external resources (participation of interest groups, public officials and authorities) and internal resources (member of parliament specialisation and chamber staff) available for policy analysis. Results illustrate that the participation of external actors is focused on fulfilling information needs but they also reflect a political logic. The specialisation of members of parliament is very low and does not seem to be widely compensated for by the human resources that the chamber makes available to members of parliament and parliamentary groups to conduct policy analysis tasks.

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Authors: Joan Font and Pau Alarcón

Spain has been no exception to the international trend to creating participatory institutions. The chapter analyses them, paying special attention to the most common ones (advisory councils) and covering the local, regional and national levels.

In the first section we provide a general overview of the reality of participatory institutions in Spain, placing more emphasis on the local level and paying special attention to their impact in the policy process. The second section focuses on advisory councils using materials from a recent mapping of these institutions at the national, regional and local levels.

Policy impact has mostly occurred at the local level, being quite diverse in the different regions and quite minor at the national level. This impact has been further limited because they have normally addressed quite minor decisions, and politicians have cherry-picked ideas, implementing mostly those that were more in accordance with their own priorities.

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Experts are involved in policy analysis in diverse ways, from the university professor who does independent research work to the academically trained expert employed by a consultancy or a firm. Yet the boundary separating scientific policy advice from consulting and from the lobbying activities of interest organisations has become blurred. This makes it difficult to assess the extent to which policy analysis, and particularly policy evaluation, has become a profession. In this chapter, an attempt is made to identify the tendency towards the professionalisation of policy analysis and policy evaluation in Spain. The extent to which there is an emerging nucleus of professionals working in these fields, whether in the private or the public realm, is discussed. The roles of postgraduate programmes, professional associations, conferences, and other network-like activities – as well as Spain’s entry into the European Union, among other important milestones – are examined to this purpose. Finally, this chapter presents what the author believes may be one of the challenges for the future of policy analysts and evaluators, as well as one of the lines for future research: big data. The last section brings together the main findings of the chapter.

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This chapter explains public opinion survey data in Spain. It provides an overview of the extent to which public opinion data is available, and how public institutions –mainly the Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS) – conduct public opinion surveys. The analysis relies on a novel dataset containing all the surveys carried out from 1978 to 2018 by CIS, the leading public opinion data producer in Spain. The analysis illustrates that public opinion surveys increasingly provide information about citizens’ ideas, beliefs, preferences, and values about policies instead of politics, with significant differences across policy areas. Also, results illustrate that most surveys cover Spain’s whole territory, but sample sizes are not large enough to allow for a comparison across regions, with some exceptions. Finally, most surveys define the target population as Spanish citizens, leaving aside more than 12 per cent of the population living in Spain.

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As democratically elected institutions responsible for nearly half of total public expenditure, Spanish regional governments participate in the policy analysis process and generate their own information and technical knowledge about policy problems. In this chapter, we focus on Spanish regional governments as policy analysts in a context of increasing state intervention, greater decentralisation and growing policy complexity. The chapter analyses this greater demand for policy analysis at the regional level in the light of the territorial distribution of powers between the centre and the periphery; the historical and administrative legacy of the Spanish administrative system; the role of regional government in some basic policy areas of welfare; and the localisation of the 2030 Agenda in two regions: Catalonia and the Basque Country.

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