The Tools of Policy Formulation

The Tools of Policy Formulation

Actors, Capacities, Venues and Effects

New Horizons in Public Policy series

Edited by Andrew J. Jordan and John R. Turnpenny

A PDF version of this book is available for free in open access via the Elgaronline platform - Policy analysts are accustomed to thinking in terms of tools and instruments. Yet an authoritative examination of the tools which have been developed to formulate new policies is missing. This book is the first of its kind to distinguish the defining characteristics of the main policy formulation tools, and offer a fresh way of understanding how, why and by whom they are selected, as well as the effects they produce in practice.

Chapter 12: The use of computerized models in different policy formulation venues: the MARKAL energy model

Paul Upham, Peter Taylor, David Christopherson and Will McDowall

Subjects: economics and finance, valuation, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public administration and management, public policy


At a particular point in time, a policy formulation tool may provide real opportunities for learning or serve to rationalize pre-existing decisions (Hertin et al. 2009). This chapter examines the varying uses to which a particular energy system model – MARKAL – has been put in the UK. We define the scope of policy venues to include all policy-salient institutions using the model: academic-consulting research groups, government departments and non-departmental government bodies. We view MARKAL as a boundary object (Star and Griesemer 1989) that has served the differing but intersecting needs of academic, consulting and policy communities over a sustained period of time, helping both to inform and justify major and innovative climate and energy policy commitments. We suggest that the model has functioned to bind mutually supportive epistemic communities across academic and policy worlds, helping to develop and maintain, both materially and cognitively, a networked and influential community with shared assumptions and goals in which economic and technical models are privileged.