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http://ssrn.com/abstract=2175061
 
 

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Knowledge in the People: Rethinking 'Value' in Public Rulemaking Participation


Cynthia R. Farina


Cornell Law School

Dmitry Epstein


Cornell Law School

Josiah Heidt


Cornell Law School

Mary Newhart


Cornell Law School

November 13, 2012

Wake Forest Law Review, Forthcoming
Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-65

Abstract:     
A companion piece to Rulemaking vs. Democracy: Judging and Nudging Public Participation that Counts, this Essay continues to examine the nature and value of broader public participation in rulemaking. Here, we argue that rulemaking is a “community of practice,” with distinctive forms of argumentation and methods of reasoning that both reflect and embody craft knowledge. Rulemaking newcomers are outside this community of practice: Even when they are reasonably informed about the legal and policy aspects of the agency’s proposal, their participation differs in kind and form from that of sophisticated commenters. From observing the actual behavior of rulemaking newcomers in the Regulation Room project, we suggest that new public participation is often, if not predominantly, experiential in nature and narrative in form. We argue that it is unrealistic to expect that rulemaking newcomers can be significantly inculcated into the norms and methods of the existing rulemaking community of practice. Yet, the potential policymaking value of the on-the-ground, situated knowledge they can bring to the discussion justifies efforts to expand our understanding of the kinds of comments that should “count” in the process. We take some first steps in that direction in this Essay.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 56

Keywords: e-rulemaking, community of practice, situated knowledge, e-participation, rulemaking, notice and comment, Regulation Room, policy science

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Date posted: November 13, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Farina, Cynthia R. and Epstein, Dmitry and Heidt, Josiah and Newhart, Mary, Knowledge in the People: Rethinking 'Value' in Public Rulemaking Participation (November 13, 2012). Wake Forest Law Review, Forthcoming; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-65. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2175061

Contact Information

Cynthia R. Farina (Contact Author)
Cornell Law School ( email )
524 College Ave
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-225-5879 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)
Dmitry Epstein
Cornell Law School ( email )
524 College Ave
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.thinkmacro.org
Josiah Heidt
Cornell Law School ( email )
524 College Ave
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
Mary Newhart
Cornell Law School ( email )
524 College Ave
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
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