Long-range Forecasting and Policy-Making — Options and Limits in Choosing a Future

  • Bjorn Wittrock


In the 1960s and 1970s policy-makers in Western Europe and North America increasingly emphasised the need to bring systematic knowledge and analysis to bear upon the formulation, planning and implementation of programmes and policies in all fields of policymaking. At an organisational level this was manifested in the creation of bodies for analysis, evaluation and forecasting attached to government offices and agencies. This development was perceptible in most OECD member countries. Thus, in the United States such bodies were established in all major departments and agencies in the 1960s.1 In Western Germany a special planning department was set up within the Federal Chancellor’s Office. In the Netherlands what came to be known as the De Wolff Commission worked out a proposal for the organisation of a scientific basis for a more integrated long-term government policy, eventually in 1972 resulting in the creation of the Scientific Council for Government Policy.2 In Sweden new bodies for policy analysis, advice and forecasting were gradually introduced in the Government Offices from the mid-1960s, initially in the fields of national physical planning, regional development, defence planning and economic forecasting. In the early and mid-1970s delegations and expert groups came to be attached to most ministries to help achieve a closer connection between on the one hand current research and policy analysis and on the other actual policy-making in the given fields of responsibility.


Government Office Energy Policy Project Group Social Choice Function Forecast Activity 
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© Science Policy Research Unit, Sussex 1979

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  • Bjorn Wittrock

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