chapter  A7
6 Pages

Why evidence is often not enough to influence policy

WithHadelin de Beer de Laer

From the policy-makers' point of view the exchange and interaction with scientists is beneficial as they can inform themselves of the different existing views on the problem. The diversity in science paradigms and results allows policy-makers to choose the truth they want to hear. Policy-makers can argue that since there is no consensus among scientists they need to, and do, make policy decisions that may not be based on scientific evidence. Scientists often assume that presenting evidence automatically affects the decision of the policy-maker. Technical translation of evidence into policy through bureaucratic processes cannot substitute democratic representation policy-makers have to adhere to. At the European Union level policy is often prepared at the civil servant level. Through financial contracting the policy-makers themselves sometimes ask the scientist to take a "solution posture". The interface of science and policy depends on the context—the place of where policies are made is not the same on the European and national levels.