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Academia and Public Policy: Towards the co-generation of knowledge and learning processes

  • James R. Wilson


    (Orkestra - Basque Institute of Competitiveness)

  • Mari Jose Aranguren


    (Orkestra - Basque Institute of Competitiveness)

  • Miren Larrea


    (Orkestra - Basque Institute of Competitiveness)

Building from the context of ongoing debates around the changing roles of universities in society, this paper contributes to analysis of academia-society interface in two important respects. First, the paper considers the under-researched subset of relations that exist between academia and public policy. It is argued that academia-policy relations bear similarities to academia-market relations; like imperfect markets, policy environments tend to be characterised by concentrations of power. Thus similar concerns to those evident in debates around the commercialisation of university activity are relevant. Second, the paper explores the issue of balance in the role of the academic with regards public policy though an auto-reflective case analysis of an emerging experience in the Basque Country region of Spain. An aim is to reflect on the very fine (and frequently controversial) line between policy-oriented academic research and policy consultancy. The analysis highlights some of the benefits and issues with integrating action research principles into research projects, and suggests the significance of co-generation of knowledge and learning processes between academics and policy-makers. In turn this has specific implications for the time-horizon of relationships (long- rather than short-term) and for doctoral training (in research methodologies appropriate for such processes).

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Paper provided by Orkestra - Basque Institute of Competitiveness in its series Working Papers with number 200903.

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Date of creation: 05 Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ivc:wpaper:200903
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  1. Cristina Aragón & Maria José Aranguren & Cristina Iturrioz & James R. Wilson, 2012. "A Participatory Methodology for Evaluating the Cluster Policy of the Basque Country," Chapters, in: Innovation, Global Change and Territorial Resilience, chapter 17 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  2. Richard Layard, 2006. "Happiness and public policy: a challenge to the profession," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 47483, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Roger Sugden & James R. Wilson, 2005. "Economic Globalisation: Dialectics, Conceptualisation And Choice," Contributions to Political Economy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 13-32, August.
  5. Kevin Morgan, 1997. "The Learning Region: Institutions, Innovation and Regional Renewal," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(5), pages 491-503.
  6. Blundell, Richard, et al, 2000. "The Returns to Higher Education in Britain: Evidence from a British Cohort," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(461), pages F82-99, February.
  7. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
  8. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  9. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
  10. Cowling, Keith & Sugden, Roger, 1998. "The Essence of the Modern Corporation: Markets, Strategic Decision-Making and the Theory of the Firm," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 66(1), pages 59-86, January.
  11. Luciana Lazzeretti & Ernesto Tavoletti, 2005. "Higher Education Excellence and Local Economic Development: The Case of the Entrepreneurial University of Twente," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 475-493, April.
  12. Andy Pike, 2007. "Editorial: Whither Regional Studies?," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(9), pages 1143-1148.
  13. James R. Wilson, 2009. "Higher Education and Economic Development: Do We Face an Intertemporal Trade-off?," Chapters, in: Knowledge in the Development of Economies, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  14. Richard Layard, 2006. "Happiness and Public Policy: a Challenge to the Profession," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages C24-C33, 03.
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