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Advice and Consent

Advice and Consent: The Development of the Policy Sciences

Peter deLeon
Copyright Date: 1988
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 144
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  • Book Info
    Advice and Consent
    Book Description:

    Policy analysis, as a practical matter, is hardly new. Throughout history, rulers have sought advice from priests or sages, and monarchs have conferred with counselors. The emergence of empirical social research in the nineteenth century laid the groundwork for policy advice that was more than an idiosyncratic political exercise, but it was not until well into this century that the systematic examination of policy issues became feasible.

    Advice and Consenttraces the recent course of the "policy sciences," a term coined in 1951 to describe an analytic approach that draws on political science, sociology, law, economics, psychology, and operations research to examine specific social problems in context. Peter deLeon's unique contribution is to delineate two separate but related currents in the development of the policy sciences: first, the evolution of intellectual tools for analysis ("advice"); and second, the evolution of a perceived need for policy research as prompted by events such as the war on poverty ("consent").

    Peter deLeon's concise and literate account of how these two trends shaped the policy sciences and affected each other clarifies the present state of policy research, explores its failure to realize fully its ideals, and frames the challenges facing the policy sciences as they struggle to complete their transformation from academic fancy to institutional fact.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-154-4
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Preface
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-13)

    The conceptual, intellectual, and professional underpinning of the policy sciences have been well articulated since at least 1951 when Lerner and Lasswell first coined the phrase and offered working definitions which remain touchstones to this day.¹ Since then, the number of proponents and practitioners of the policy sciences has grown almost geometrically, although some might claim disproportionally in terms of value and product. Numerous “market tests” manifest this growth and apparent acceptance. Virtually every major university has a training program in public policy analysis, and it is the rare governmental unit that does not have its own analytic group or...

  5. 2 Advice: The Policy Sciences as a Discipline
    (pp. 14-51)

    Policy analysis and its consequent advice have been practiced in one form or another since people have been making decisions that have policy implications, virtually since the serpent hissed in Eve’s receptive ear. Dunn proposes that

    the earliest recorded examples of conscious efforts to analyze public policy are found in Mesopotamia. The ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur . . . produced one of the first legal codes in the twenty-first century B.C., some two thousand years before Aristotle (384–322 B.C.), Confucius (551–479 B.C.), and Kautilya (circa 300 B.C.) produced their classic treatises on government and politics. The Code...

  6. 3 Consent: Political Events and the Policy Sciences
    (pp. 52-89)

    The introductory chapter proposed the evolution of the policy sciences as a function of two broad sets of attributes and influences. The first set was characterized as composed of endogenous (or internal) variables, or those factors which defined and shaped the policy sciences concept and approach from within the area of inquiry. Described as “supply” or “advice” components, these included such influences as provided by the contributing disciplines (e.g., economics, sociology, and political science) and the explicit normative considerations embedded in the approach. For better or worse, these were largely brought to the policy sciences in a relatively disciplined although...

  7. 4 Advice and Consent
    (pp. 90-103)

    The preceding two chapters have mapped out two paths in the development of the policy sciences, which we have called the advice and consent paths. The first dealt with the academic disciplines’ contributions to the policy sciences; the second with the political events which encouraged their application and thereby shaped the policy sciences’ agenda. For much of this narrative, these were independent actors; fellow travelers were infrequent, coincidental, and fleeting. For the policy sciences to achieve the goals set out by their proponents, however, convergence between the two was necessary. For this reason, a resolution of their often parallel but...

  8. 5 The Future of the Policy Sciences
    (pp. 104-122)

    The previous chapters have traced the development of the policy sciences as a twin function of intellectual and contextual events. We have seen how these have influenced the policy sciences, in terms of both their concepts and practices and their partial effect on how political events were perceived and treated. We need now to turn to a final task, a discussion of the future of the policy sciences given this dual heritage. An up-front caveat: this exercise will be even more idiosyncratic than the expositions of the earlier chapters. Those chapters are more or less descriptive, offering perceived trends and...

  9. INDEX
    (pp. 123-131)