Actors, Capacities, Venues and Effects
New Horizons in Public Policy series
Edited by Andrew J. Jordan and John R. Turnpenny
Chapter 12: The use of computerized models in different policy formulation venues: the MARKAL energy model
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.