Policy analysis and policy analytics
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Working from a description of what policy analysis entails, we review the emergence of the recent field of analytics and how it may impact public policy making. In particular, we seek to expose current applications of, and future possibilities for, new analytic methods that can be used to support public policy problem-solving and decision processes, which we term policy analytics. We then review key contributions to this special volume, which seek to support policy making or delivery in the areas of energy planning, urban transportation planning, medical emergency planning, healthcare, social services, national security, defence, government finance allocation, understanding public opinion, and fire and police services. An identified challenge, which is specific to policy analytics, is to recognize that public sector applications must balance the need for robust and convincing analysis with the need for satisfying legitimate public expectations about transparency and opportunities for participation. This opens up a range of forms of analysis relevant to public policy distinct from those most common in business, including those that can support democratization and mediation of value conflicts within policy processes. We conclude by identifying some potential research and development issues for the emerging field of policy analytics.
KeywordsPublic policy Policy analysis Analytics Big data Decision support
The idea for this special volume was sparked by a workshop on Policy Analytics organized at LAMSADE-CNRS, Paris, in December 2011 as a joint initiative between LAMSADE and DIMACS, where discussions with Alexis Tsoukiàs, Valerie Belton and a number of our other colleagues, both during and after the workshop, have supported the development of our thinking around the topic. The work of Katherine Daniell was supported by the HC Coombs Policy Forum. The HC Coombs Policy Forum and the Australian National Institute for Public Policy (ANIPP) received Australian Government funding under the ‘Enhancing Public Policy Initiative’. The work of David Ríos is supported by the AXA-ICMAT Chair in Adversarial Risk Analysis, the AESA-RAC Agreement on Operational Safety, and the MINECO project MTM2014-56949-C3-1-R. Discussions with colleagues at the ESF-COST IS1304 action on Expert Judgment and the HC Coombs Policy Forum are gratefully acknowledged. We are also grateful to the reviewers of the papers contained in this special volume, who, while they must remain anonymous, have generously contributed their time and expertise, and without whom the special volume would not be possible.
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