Handbook on Complexity and Public Policy
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Handbook on Complexity and Public Policy

Edited by Robert Geyer and Paul Cairney

Though its roots in the natural sciences go back to the early 20th century, complexity theory as a scientific framework has developed most rapidly since the 1970s. Increasingly, complexity theory has been integrated into the social sciences, and this groundbreaking Handbook on Complexity and Public Policy has brought together top thinkers in complexity and policy from around the world. With contributions from Europe, North America, Brazil and China this comprehensive Handbook splits the topic into three cohesive parts: Theory and Tools, Methods and Modeling, and Application.
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Chapter 12: The role of models in bridging expert and lay knowledge in policy-making activities

Sylvie Occelli and Ferdinando Semboloni


As with other societal organizations, governmental systems, currently exposed to the same social, economic, geopolitical and institutional pressures, will need to adapt and make major changes to their systems. Since the last decade, a number of processes have been at work in concocting a radically different policy background that has also been popularized as e-government and e-governance transformations (Gil-Garcia, 2012; Scholl, 2003). Transformations associated with responsibility enhancement are of utmost relevance, as they in fact urge public administration to improve its overall production processes by means of ICT, while also designing, managing and accounting for policy actions in innovative ways (Peach, 2004; Johnston, 2010; OECD, 2011; van Veenstra et al., 2010). Increasingly, incomplete knowledge and uncertainty are recognized as a main source of the problems faced by policy-making. Not only does there exist an intrinsic difficulty in knowing the whole and detailed aspects of a social system, but also the complexity of social patterns makes behaviour unpredictable (Conklin, 2006). To cope with this problem, various solutions have been proposed such as, for instance, risk analysis, portfolio differentiation, and so on.

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