Beyond the two communities: a reply to Mead’s “why government often ignores research”
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In a recent issue of this journal, Lawrence Mead lamented the underuse of academic research in policy making and argued that the primary reason for this underuse is that academics do not produce research that is relevant to policy makers. According to Mead, this situation arises from several factors: Academic research does not align with current political ideologies (Mead 2015, 260); academic research does not offer political strategies to help decision makers implement policy ideas (260–261); academics write in language that policy makers do not understand (264); and there is little incentive for professional academics to actively communicate with governments when universities typically prioritize academic publishing above all else (270).
Mead’s arguments echo Caplan’s (1979) influential, but flawed, imagining of the academic and policy spheres as “two communities,” whose members play by unique sets of rules, speak different languages, operate along conflicting timelines, respond to...
KeywordsPolicy Maker Academic Research Research Utilization Welfare Reform Policy Worker
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