The 'Lumpiness' Thesis Revisited: The Venues of Policy Work and the Distribution of Analytical Techniques in Canada

31 Pages Posted: 4 May 2013

See all articles by Michael P. Howlett

Michael P. Howlett

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Political Science; National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Seck Tan

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Adam Wellstead

Michigan Technological University

Andrea Migone

Simon Fraser University - Department of Political Science

Bryan Evans

Department of Politics and Public Administration - Ryerson University

Date Written: April 26, 2013

Abstract

This paper contributes to the understanding of analytical practices and tools employed by policy analysts involved in policy formulation and appraisal by examining data drawn from 15 surveys of federal, provincial and territorial government policy analysts in Canada conducted in 2009-2010, two surveys of NGO analysts conducted in 2010-2011 and two surveys of external policy consultants conducted in 2012-2013. Data from these surveys allow the exploration of several facets of the use of analytical tools ranging from more precise description of the frequency of use of specific kinds of tools and techniques in government as well as their distribution between permanent government officials and external policy analysts. As the paper shows, the frequency of use of major types of analytical techniques used in policy formulation is not the same between the three types of actors and also varies within government by Department and issue type. Nevertheless some general patterns in the use of policy appraisal tools in government can be discerned, with all groups employing process-related tools more frequently than ‘substantive’ tools related to the technical analysis of policy proposals.

Keywords: policy analysis, analytical tools, policy consultants, NGOs, policy venues

Suggested Citation

Howlett, Michael P. and Tan, Seck and Wellstead, Adam and Migone, Andrea and Evans, Bryan, The 'Lumpiness' Thesis Revisited: The Venues of Policy Work and the Distribution of Analytical Techniques in Canada (April 26, 2013). Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Research Paper No. 13-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2260028 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2260028

Michael P. Howlett (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Singapore 117591
Singapore

Seck Tan

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy ( email )

469C Bukit Timah Road
Oei Tiong Ham Building
Singapore, Singapore 259772
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://lkyspp.nus.edu.sg/faculty/seck-tan/

Adam Wellstead

Michigan Technological University ( email )

Department of Social Sciences
Houghton, MI 49931
United States

Andrea Migone

Simon Fraser University - Department of Political Science ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.sfu.ca/~amigone/

Bryan Evans

Department of Politics and Public Administration - Ryerson University ( email )

350 Victoria Street
350 Victoria Street
Toronto, ON M5B 2K3
Canada

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