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International Conference on Public Policy: T12P06 - Public policy and citizen involvement

Chairs - Laurence Bherer, Université de Montréal - Joan Font, Institute of Advanced Social Studies (IESA-CSIC) Discussant Rothmayr Christine (Université de Montreal)

Presented as a promising way to reform public administration processes, public participation practices remain relatively understudied in the public policy field. Also, research in this field has only established a limited dialogue with other contributions coming from political theory, comparative politics, or political behaviour. One way of explaining the lack of public policy studies of public participation comes from the fact that a lot of participatory processes are typically one-off experiments that occur over a short time period. But after decades of public participation practices, there is more and more of them that last and repeat over time. The organizers of this panel would like to take this opportunity to better understand how public participation influences the ‘world’ of the public decision-making process. There is a lot of skepticism about the real effect of public participation, but in the meantime, there are a few studies that have tried to measure the influence.

We are here interested in two questions. First, how do public authorities receive and manage citizen opinions? This question refers to the potential effects of participatory arrangements on the final public policies (or policy content). Second, how does public participation change the context of the public decision-making process? The issues of diffusion and learning are central in this question. Who are the actors responsible for the growing use of the participatory arrangements? What mechanisms do they use? This panel will also welcome papers with methodological issues regarding measurement and evaluation of the two topics (impact and diffusion).