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Study of Cross-Sectoral Policy Differences

A. A literature review on cross-sectoral policy differences in evidence-based policy processes (ebp).  Analysis on the knowledge policy interface has focused on policy processes in general rather than seeking to understand the dynamics of different policy sectors – such as trade versus social policy vs science policy. Based on a systematic literature review, this paper develops a framework for analysing the demand and supply of research evidence in different policy sectors and identifies four key factors:  a) the level of technical expertise required to participate in policy dialogues, b) the extent to which the issue is internationalised, c) the level of contestation within the policy sector and d) the strength of economic interests. This framework is designed to help policy entrepreneurs develop more nuanced strategies to promote the uptake of research evidence in the policy process.

B. The aim is to explore debates about the relative importance of values and culture versus research evidence in policy processes. The movement of evidence-based policy was developed in part as a reaction against ideology determined policies and has given rise to a largely technocratic approach to policy development. While there is recognition in the literature than evidence is only one factor in shaping policy outcomes and that values/culture play a role, there seems to be an implicit assumption that this is something that needs to be tackled and reduced. But politics is inherently a value-infused process and it seems the challenge should be reframed as how to integrate research-based evidence and values in a more transparent and open manor.