Anthony R. Zito
The chapter presents a theoretical examination of the role that a range of expert groups make in the formulation of national and international policies. It starts by assessing the concept of an epistemic community, defining it and placing it in a wider context of other alternative group types. It makes the case that a wide variation of expert networks may be important in defining policy problems and solutions, but that circumstances will be vital in defining which expert groups actually operate and how they can shape the policy agenda. The chapter divides these groups along two dimensions: more loosely coupled networks versus much tighter communities of actors; and the degree to which the tighter networks integrate a system of knowledge and expertise about policy-relevant issues. The chapter explores the implications of these expert communities and networks for policy formulation and governance in the public and private realms both locally and globally.