Science and Public Policy: How the Twain Might Meet

by Ben S. Malayang

Glover (1993) and Bromley (1999) raised the issue of how science feeds public policy. They discussed views on how research contributes to policy making and how public policy is enriched by research.  Glover reviewed the literature on the topic. He summarized their principal points and discussed how economics research improves public policy. He noted four constraints on the ability of research to contribute to policy making:  (1) it is unable to meet the needs of the policy makers in terms of providing answers to the questions they need to resolve at the time they need to do it (c.f. Hirschman & Lindblom 1962, Lamb 1987, Wilson 1978, Lynn 1978, Sundquist 1978, Weiss 1977, Rose 1977, Verdier 1984, Sharpe 1977, Davis & Salasin 1978); (2) its logic differs from the logic that policy makers follow (c.f. Leman & Nelson 1981, Nehn 1981, Verdier 1984, Rhoads 1978); (3) it has technical demands on itself that policy makers cannot accommodate (c.f. Weiss 1977, Aaron 1978, Streeten 1988, Szanton 1981); and (4) in many countries (particularly developing ones) there is not enough political space nor resources for doing it to support policy making (c.f. Fine 1990 and Thomas & Grindle 1990).

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Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia