Policy Analytical Capacity and Policy Activities

Christopher M. Weible, Dallas J. Elgin, Andrew Pattison


The study of policy process involves the study of
policy actors - people involved in the development of public
policy in a particular geographic area. This paper investigates
policy actors in the context of Colorado climate and
energy issues with a particular emphasis on the types and
levels of their engagement in policy activities. The conceptual
framework guiding this study centers on policy analytical
capacity, the ability to acquire and use information in the
policy process. High policy analytical capacity is expected to
be associated with high levels, and more diverse kinds, of
policy activities. The findings partly confirm the expectations.
Actors from government and the non-profit sector
report the highest policy analytical capacity and highest and
most diverse range of policy activities. However, researchers,
despite relatively high levels of policy analytical capacity,
report involvement in just a few activities beyond conducting
research. Actors with strong educational backgrounds in the
physical sciences are more likely to be involved in conducting
research whereas those with strong backgrounds in the
social sciences are more likely to be involved in evaluating
and appraising policies and working with the public. The
conclusion contextualizes the findings by focusing on the
relationship between technical and scientific complexity of
climate and energy issues and the necessity for participating
actors to possess high levels of policy analytical capacity.

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125