Category: policymaking

The (il)logic of legibility – Why governments should stop simplifying complex systems

Thea Snow, discusses how the desire to make complex systems ‘legible’ can serve to constrain policymaking and lead to decisions that reproduce an idealised, legible, but fundamentally limited vision of the world around us.  Sometimes, you learn about an idea that really sticks with you. This happened to me recently when I learnt about “legibility” … Continued

To shape policy with evidence, we should celebrate both good practice and good theory

As the famous saying attributed to Kurt Lewin goes, “there is nothing as practical as a good theory”. In this post James Georgalakis makes the case that bridging the gap between theory and practice is not simply a matter of more refined communication, but of creating structures in which policy influencers and academics can productively … Continued

Building new bridges between research and policy during a national lockdown

Annette Boaz and Kathryn Oliver are social scientists with expertise in production and use of evidence for, policy. In this blogpost, they reflect on their recent experiences putting their knowledge into practice at the heart of government during a national lockdown. They describe the significant changes they had to make to their planned programme of … Continued

‘The government is following the science’: Why is the translation of evidence into policy generating so much controversy?

In the UK, the government has presented itself as guided by scientific evidence in its policy responses to COVID-19. This has led to science, in particular epidemiology, itself becoming politicised and contested. However, neither the politicisation of science nor questions surrounding the status of evidence are new. In this post, Luis Pérez-González, outlines how a … Continued

How I wrote and published a book about the economics of coronavirus in a month

This post by roundtable panellist Joshua Gans was originally published in May by The Conversation This is the seventh post in a six-week series: Rapid or Rushed? exploring rapid response publishing in covid times. As part of the series, there will be a virtual roundtable on Friday 6th November, 1.30pm featuring Professor Joshua Gans (Economics in the Age of … Continued

The Pandemic Needs an Information Solution

This is the sixth post in a six-week series: Rapid or Rushed? exploring rapid response publishing in covid times. As part of the series, there will be a virtual roundtable on Friday 6th November, 1.30pm featuring Professor Joshua Gans (Economics in the Age of COVID-19, MIT Press) and Richard Horton (The COVID-19 Catastrophe, Polity Press and Editor of The … Continued

Common policy problems and what researchers can do about them

Impacting policy is difficult, not only because of the challenges translating research into policy-speak but also because of challenges inherent in the policymaking process itself. These include: the siloed nature of working, the lack of focus on prevention and imperatives for ministers to pursue short-term solutions. In this post, Raj Patel outlines these problems and … Continued

The rush to research COVID-19 risks compromising research integrity and impact

This is the first post in a six-week series: Rapid or Rushed? exploring rapid response publishing in covid times. Much academic research is currently characterised by a rush to capture the effects of COVID-19. However, impact in the social sciences depends on researchers taking the time to look after themselves, exchange knowledge with others – … Continued

Policymaking in a pandemic must be decisive, transparent and inclusive

In a pandemic, policymakers have to deal with uncertainty and rapidly evolving information. Ramathi Bandaranayake and Merl Chandana use examples from COVID-19 to draw guidance for how policymakers might respond to these challenges. They argue that Quick, decisive, transparent and inclusive policy is key to successfully responding to pandemics and their socioeconomic effects.   Responding … Continued

Evidence-based policy and other myths. What researchers need to know to influence government.

Research has an important role to play in the creation of good policy. However, academics often struggle to communicate their research in a language that politicians understand. Naomi Eisenstadt CB draws on over thirty years of experience at senior levels of government and policy, to outline what researchers need to know to influence government and three … Continued