* Recorded with the University of Auckland Public Policy Institute, 11 October 2018
Since 2016, my most common academic presentation to interdisciplinary scientist/researcher audiences is a variant of the question, ‘why don’t policymakers listen to your evidence?’ I provide three main answers to provoke workshop debate:
- Many policymakers have many different ideas about what counts as good evidence
- Policymakers have to ignore almost all evidence and almost every decision taken in their name
- Policymakers do not control the policy process (in the way that a policy cycle suggests)
However, the practical meaning of these statements varies by audience. To an audience of not-social-scientists, I suggest that we do not simply blame politics and politicians: let’s act effectively in a policy process that exists, rather than hoping that a new system will appear. With an audience more conversant with policy studies, we can discuss their practical lessons and the advice we might give to advocates of research evidence seeking policy-theory-informed impact.
Professor Paul Cairney, Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the University of Stirling