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Best Practices Policy Making

„Evidence” is in the axis of the regulation planning rhetoric which has a clear significance for the scientists. This message not only suggests that policy makers widely accept the paradigm shift from (less adaptive and responsible) „traditional” to science-based policy making, but also creates new challenges for the scientists. The co-operation of policy and science is vital in making policy-data available, in performing analyses, in evolving new theories, and in developing assessments, since the outcomes of these processes can be deemed as policy-supporting evidence.

Additional important sources of evidence are the so called “best practices” (best ways of working, used by others, to achieve the policy objectives), and the other lessons learned. However, it is important to note that the simple copy of a “best practice” does not always guarantee the success in a new policy domain. Furthermore, policy problems and failures can also be deemed as evidence but, of course, as a practice to avert. These kind of evidence are sometimes more useful in avoiding future mistakes in policy decisions than the knowledge gained from success stories.

Science has multiple roles in this process: collecting and analyzing data, developing theories, evaluating results, advising policy-makers and steadily improving methodologies, or in short: providing a “technology” of effective policy-making.

As Sir Karl Popper argues "The only course open to social sciences is ... to tackle the practical problems of our time with the help of the theoretical methods ... A social technology is needed which can be tested by social engineering" (Popper 1945 vol ii p210) These two tools (i.e. theory and social technology) are indispensable for social sciences to deal w...

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...ation” expects appropriate information about the objectives, the available policy instruments, and the anticipated compliant behaviour of the target groups. In an optimal case, policy measure identification is based on ex-ante impact assessment (i.e. a preliminary estimation about the feasibility of the implementation, the extent to which the expected results can be achieved, and about the effectiveness of the whole process). Unfortunately, policy-makers are under pressure and the selection of regulatory instruments are not always supported by ex-ante assessments. Social sciences can definitely help in improving the effectiveness of policy-decisions, including risk-based decisions. Although the employment of the appropriate methods of the social sciences can accelerate the policy measure identification process, some time for this research work is definitely needed.
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