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New development: scarcity, policy gambles, and ‘one-shot bias’—training civil servants to speak truth to power

Elston, Thomas and Bevan, Gwyn (2020) New development: scarcity, policy gambles, and ‘one-shot bias’—training civil servants to speak truth to power. Public Money and Management, 40 (8). 615 - 618. ISSN 0954-0962

[img] Text (Scarcity, policy gambles, and one ‘one-shot bias’ training civil servants to speak truth to power) - Accepted Version
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Identification Number: 10.1080/09540962.2020.1757241

Abstract

Allocating scarce resources to meet policy objectives incurs opportunity costs. A vital element of ‘speaking truth to power’ thus involves officials advising ministers on the opportunity costs of high-risk ‘pet projects’. In democracies, the brevity of ministerial office can produce ‘one-shot bias’—radical policy-making that deploys ministers’ time-limited powers to the full, yet risks producing significant opportunity costs for public service organizations. Examples include the UK’s recent social security, healthcare and European policies. Training in the economics of organization, development of new techniques for coping with uncertainty in opportunity-cost estimates, and stronger incentives for decision-makers to consider ‘benefits foregone’ by their actions could all provide greater protection against the downsides of one-shot bias.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rpmm20/current
Additional Information: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: School of Public Policy
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Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2020 17:06
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2020 08:42
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/104002

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