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Obstacles to evidence-based policy-making in the EU enlargement countries: the case of skills policies

Bartlett, Will (2013) Obstacles to evidence-based policy-making in the EU enlargement countries: the case of skills policies. Social Policy and Administration, 47 (4). pp. 451-467. ISSN 0144-5596

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Identification Number: 10.1111/spol.12029


The global economic crisis has had a significant impact on the EU enlargement region by reducing inflows of external finance. Unemployment has increased in a context of already high long-term and youth unemployment. As governments seek to restrict their budget deficits there will be little scope for much increase in government expenditure in the near future. These effects of the crisis highlight the need for better policy-making in the region, drawing on better understanding of the causes of economic and social problems, better appreciation of the range of policy options and their relative chances of success or failure. However, there is a substantial knowledge gap that can only be filled by well-designed research studies based on research questions that are relevant to the needs of policymakers. In this context, evidence-based policy-making techniques have a valuable role to play in improving the policy process. This article points out the specific nature of the policy process in transition countries and the difficulties of formulating rational policy during periods of rapid structural change in which the administrations have become politicized and state capture by big business interests is common. In addition, pervasive policy transfer, often of a coercive nature, is an additional constraint on rational policy-making. The conflicting advice received from multiple donors and external advisers provides an incentive for playing the system and producing inconsistent policy formulas. The article concludes that there is significant scope for improvement in policy-making through the use of evidence-based policy-making techniques. Governments should, therefore, encourage the use of systematic review and ex-post evaluation of policy programmes and analysis of natural experiments where possible, while at the same time maintain a realistic awareness of the dangers and distorting effects of the influence of advocacy coalitions, state capture and partyisation of economies

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2013 14:29
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 00:54

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