Policy Modelling

Policy modelling means to identify areas that need intervention, to specify the desired state of the target system, to find the regulating mechanisms, policy formation and implementation, and to control and evaluate the robustness of interventions (John, 1998). The methodological difficulty is to bridge the gap between policy practice, often expressed in qualitative and narrative terms, and the scientific realm of formal models. Furthermore, policy making in complex social systems is not a clear-cut cause-effect process but is characterised by contingency and uncertainty (Kingdon, 1984). To take into account technological, social, economic, political, cultural, ecological and other relevant parameters, policy modelling has to be enhanced and supported by new ICT-oriented research initiatives. Recent developments move in the direction of advanced ICT tools for policy modelling, prediction of policy impacts, development of new governance models and collaborative solving of complex policy problems (Loveridge, 2007). These tools enable the modelling of policy initiatives taking into account relevant parameters and performing social simulations to forecast potential impacts of proposed policy measures.

A particular challenge in policy modelling is the relationship between large-scale quantitative data and formal policy models (Sabatier, 2007). This is a twofold issue: First, providing knowledge discovery and data mining techniques for large and heterogeneous databases is an urgent requirement for policy analysis in general. Second, to connect these large databases to formal models constitutes a methodological gap in the existing state-of-the-art.

Related term: Policy model


John, P., 1998. Analysing Public Policy. London.

Kingdon, J. W., 1984. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies. Little, Brown, Boston.

Loveridge, D., 2007. Foresight. The Art and Science of Anticipating the Future. Routledge, New York.

Sabatier, P. A., 2007. Theories of the Policy Process (2nd edition). Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

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