"Evidence, Argument, and Persuasion in the Policy Process" by Giandomenico Majone

Evidence, Argument, and Persuasion in the Policy Process Giandomenico Majone

Publication date:
29 Jul 1992
Yale University Press
203 pages: 210 x 140mm

In modern industrial democracies, the making of public policy is dependent on policy analysis—the generation, discussion, and evaluation of policy alternatives. Policy analysis is often characterized, especially by economists, as a technical, nonpartisan, objective enterprise, separate from the constraints of the political environment. however, says the eminent political scientist Giandomenico Majone, this characterization of policy analysis is seriously flawed. According to Majone, policy analysts do not engage in a purely technical analysis of alternatives open to policymakers, but instead produce policy arguments that are based on value judgments and are used in the course of public debate.
In this book Majone offers his own definition of policy analysis and examines all aspects of it—from problem formulation and the choice of policy instruments to program development and policy evaluation. He argues that rhetorical skills are crucial for policy analysts when they set the norms that determine when certain conditions are to be regarded as policy problems, when they advise on technical issues, and when they evaluate policy. Policy analysts can improve the quality of public deliberation by refining the standards of appraisal of public programs and facilitating a wide-ranging dialogue among advocates of different criteria. In fact, says Majone, the essential need today is not to develop 'objective' measures of outcomes—the traditional aim of evaluation research—but to improve the methods and conditions of public discourse at all levels and stages of policy-making.

"A good overview of the perspective followed by Giandomenico Majone in his study of the policy process. . . . The book is excellent for those interested in public policy, and a good introduction to the previous works of the author."?Guy Lachapelle, Canadian Journal of Political Science

"Majone offers a new conception of the policy process, and it deserves attention."?Lance deHaven-Smith, Journal of Politics

"This book is well worth reading to gain a better appreciation of the strengths and limits of analysis."?Peter J. May, Policy Sciences

"A very well-orchestrated presentation interspersed with examples from diverse areas such as the international monetary system, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, pollution control, and social security policy. It is a highly useful book for courses in policy analysis and program evaluation."?Dennis J. Palumbo, Perspectives on Political Science

"Giandomenico Majone knows this field from the inside. . . . Quite [concise], but with a wealth of supporting detail and citations. . . . Displays a sanity and wisdom that are sorely needed in a culture whose ruling totem is still Homo economicus"?Jerome R. Ravetz, Environment

"This book is addressed to policy analysts and presents a compelling argument for redefining their tasks. It is highly relevant for applied sociologists who are concerned with public policy analysis and who wish to place their work within this context. The book?s approach to policy analysis is one that is likely to grow in importance."?Duncan MacRae, Jr., Contemporary Sociology

"Majone has written a series of thoughtful essays on policy analysis. . . . Interesting. . . . An important addition to graduate collections."?Choice

"Majone restores persuasion?rhetoric, argument, advocacy, and their institutionalization?to the central place they deserve in the policy process. His book is a pleasure to read and to ponder."?Aaron Wildavsky, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley

"An interesting and important contribution to the literature on policy analysis."?Randall B. Ripley, The Ohio State University