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Public policy informatics: does better information produce better policy?

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  • Michael Munger

Abstract

Collecting data is different from accumulating knowledge. To succeed, public affairs informatics must develop three infrastructures: 1) protocols for standardising which variables are meaningful and formats for records; 2) storage and retrieval hardware and rules that protect privacy and ensure access; 3) a scholarly interpretive community that can do basic research on patterns in the data, ensuring that policy advice derived from informatics is theory-driven rather than exclusively driven by short-term problems. Two problems with developing these infrastructures are outlined. The first problem is the competing, and often conflicting, sources of authority and legitimacy in public affairs (markets, experts, and politics). The consequence of this conflict is likely to prevent a consensus on protocols or development of infrastructure. The second problem is the boundary between private issues and collectively decided issues. This problem is related to privacy, and it affects the very legitimacy of public policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Munger, 2006. "Public policy informatics: does better information produce better policy?," International Journal of Public Policy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(4), pages 343-354.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijpubp:v:1:y:2006:i:4:p:343-354
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