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Mandated science and the problem of neutral expertise: The case of governmental research agencies


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  • Bach, Tobias
  • Döhler, Marian
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    Wie können Wissenschaftsbehörden, die in den hierarchischen Staatsaufbau integriert sind, nach außen glaubwürdig darstellen, dass sie trotz ihrer Nähe zur Politik neutral bleiben und ihre Beratungsaufgabe allein nach wissenschaftlichen Kriterien erledigen? Im Fall der Ressortforschungseinrichtungen des Bundes scheint dies kein Problem darzustellen, da deren wissenschaftliche Glaubwürdigkeit genau damit begründet wird, dass sie Teil der Exekutive sind. Der Aufsatz nimmt dies zum Ausgangspunkt, um auf Grundlage der Unterscheidung zwischen den idealtypischen Akteurmodellen des Agenten und des Treuhänders die Rolle der Ressortforschung zu untersuchen. Zu diesem Zweck werden ein rechtsstaatlich-juristischer, ein wissenschaftspolitischer und sektorspezifische Expertendiskurse unterschieden. Es wird gezeigt, dass eine variierende Rollenzuweisung der Ressortforschung als Agent oder Treuhänder dazu beiträgt, konfligierende Wahrnehmungen und Zielvorstellungen zu harmonisieren. Dies wird dadurch ermöglicht, dass Ressortforschungseinrichtungen verschiedene Aufgaben gleichzeitig erfüllen, so dass sie sowohl als Agent wie auch als Treuhänder wahrgenommen werden können. Die schlichte Unterscheidung zwischen Agent und Treuhänder erweist sich damit bei multifunktionalen Organisationen als differenzierungsbedürftig. -- How can research agencies which are integrated into the hierarchical state apparatus provide credible expertise for policy-decisions? In the case of governmental research agencies (GRAs) in Germany, this does not seem to pose a major problem, as their scientific credibility is taken for granted precisely because they belong to the Federal Government. The article addresses this puzzle by drawing on insights from the literature on delegation relationships which distinguishes between agents and trustees as ideal types of delegates. These ideal types are used to analyze three dominating discourses regarding GRAs: a legal discourse, a science policy discourse, and sectoral expert discourses. We show that each discourse is characterized by different and often conflicting assumptions regarding the importance of scientific freedom and the legitimacy of hierarchical interventions. The paper suggests that GRAs may simultaneously be agents and trustees under the condition of heterogeneous tasks. The simple distinction between agent and trustee thus becomes problematic for analyzing multi-purpose organizations.

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    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Group Science Policy Studies with number SP III 2012-602.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbsps:spiii2012602

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    1. Pollitt, Christopher & Bouckaert, Geert, 2004. "Public Management Reform: A Comparative Analysis," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780199268498, October.
    2. Manishi Prasad & Peter Wahlqvist & Rich Shikiar & Ya-Chen Tina Shih, 2004. "A," PharmacoEconomics, Springer Healthcare | Adis, vol. 22(4), pages 225-244.
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