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Knowledge transfer at the science-policy interface: How cognitive distance and the degree of expert autonomy shapes the outcome

Author

Listed:
  • Broström, Anders

    () (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)

  • McKelvey, Maureen

    (Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Department of Economy & Society, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg.)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the conditions for successful knowledge transfer between the spheres of science and public policy. It does so by focusing upon the science-policy interface, specifically the processes of direct interaction between scientists and scientifically trained experts on the one hand and agents of policy-making organizations on the other. The paper defines two dimensions – cognitive distance and expert autonomy – which are argued to influence knowledge exchange, in such a way as to shape the outcome. A case study on the implementation of congestion charges in Stockholm, Sweden illustrates how the proposed framework pinpoints three central issues for understanding these processes: 1) differentiating the roles of e.g. a science-based consultancy firm and an academic environment in policy formation; 2) examining the fit between the organizational form of the science-policy interface and the intended goals; and 3) increasing our understanding of when policy makers themselves need to develop scientific competence in order to interact effectively with scientific experts.

Suggested Citation

  • Broström, Anders & McKelvey, Maureen, 2016. "Knowledge transfer at the science-policy interface: How cognitive distance and the degree of expert autonomy shapes the outcome," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 441, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:cesisp:0441
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Börjesson, Maria & Eliasson, Jonas & Hugosson, Muriel B. & Brundell-Freij, Karin, 2012. "The Stockholm congestion charges—5 years on. Effects, acceptability and lessons learnt," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 1-12.
    2. Börjesson, Maria & Eliasson, Jonas & Hugosson, Muriel & Brundell-Freij, Karin, 2012. "The Stockholm congestion charges – five years on. Effects, acceptability and lessons learnt," Working papers in Transport Economics 2012:3, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
    3. James G. March, 1991. "Exploration and Exploitation in Organizational Learning," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 2(1), pages 71-87, February.
    4. Magnus Gulbrandsen, 2011. "Research institutes as hybrid organizations: central challenges to their legitimacy," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 44(3), pages 215-230, September.
    5. F. H. Knight, 1924. "Some Fallacies in the Interpretation of Social Cost," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(4), pages 582-606.
    6. Martin Lundin & PerOla Öberg, 2014. "Expert knowledge use and deliberation in local policy making," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 47(1), pages 25-49, March.
    7. Gerry Stoker & Peter John, 2009. "Design Experiments: Engaging Policy Makers in the Search for Evidence about What Works," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 57(2), pages 356-373, June.
    8. Eliasson, Jonas & Hultkrantz, Lars & Nerhagen, Lena & Rosqvist, Lena Smidfelt, 2009. "The Stockholm congestion - charging trial 2006: Overview of effects," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 240-250, March.
    9. Graham Leicester, 1999. "Viewpoint: The Seven Enemies of Evidence-Based Policy," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 5-7, January.
    10. Gerry Stoker & Peter John, 2009. "Design Experiments: Engaging Policy Makers in the Search for Evidence about What Works," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 57, pages 356-373, June.
    11. Bercovitz, Janet & Feldman, Maryann, 2011. "The mechanisms of collaboration in inventive teams: Composition, social networks, and geography," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 81-93, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    organizational learning; science-based policy; evidence-based policy; interaction; cognitive distance; congestion charges;

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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