Power Dynamics in Consensual Procedures
Public decisions are often highly contentious. This is appropriate because they reallocate finite and sometimes scarce resources, and set the rules for future distributions by indicating what is valid and legitimate and what is not. This chapter considers how consensual procedures can affect the mobilization of scientific and technical information and expertise in various phases of the contest over public decisions and how the distribution and dynamics of political power in decision making are changed as a result. It looks in greater detail at several phases of the decision making process. The chapter draws on insights about the nature of power in public decision making and how power is mediated by consensual procedures. Scientific arguments play important parts in setting both systemic and institutional agendas. Political horsetrading, though commonplace in the United States, can be a costly way to do business.