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  • Author or Editor: Andrea Migone x
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Not everyone’s ideas count equally in terms of influencing and informing policy design and instrument choices. As the literature on policy advice has shown, such advice arises from many different actors interacting with each other often over relatively long timeframes. Actors within these ‘policy advisory systems’ operate within the confines of an existing set of political and economic institutions and governing norms, and each actor brings with them different interests, ideas and resources. Studying who these actors are, how they act and how their actions affect the overall nature of the advice system and its contents are critical aspects of current public policy research. But not all these elements have been equally well conceptualised or studied, especially those concerning their impact on the quality of policy advice emerging from a system. In this article, the general nature of policy advisory systems is set out, their major components described and a model of individual and organisational behaviour within them outlined inspired by a modification of the ‘exit, voice, loyalty’ rubric of Albert Hirschman. Our findings show how aggregated individual organisational behaviour along the lines suggested by Hirschman can over time result in very different kinds of advice being provided by an advisory system, with predictable consequences for its nature and quality.

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This chapter contributes to the understanding of analytical practices and tools employed by policy analysts involved in policy formulation and appraisal by examining data drawn from 15 surveys of federal, provincial and territorial government policy analysts in Canada conducted in 2009-2010, two surveys of NGO analysts conducted in 2010-2011 and two surveys of external policy consultants conducted in 2012-2013. Data from these surveys allows the exploration of several facets of the use of analytical tools, ranging from more precise description of the frequency of use of specific kinds of tools and techniques in government to their distribution between permanent government officials and external policy analysts. As the chapter shows, the frequency of use of major types of analytical techniques used in policy formulation is not the same between the three types of actors and also varies within government by Department and issue type. Nevertheless some general patterns in the use of policy appraisal tools in government can be discerned, with all groups employing process- related tools more frequently than ‘substantive’ tools related to the technical analysis of policy proposals.

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