What is it about?

This paper provides a framework to evaluate how policymakers interact with information, make decisions, and act upon policy-related information. To explore the influence of information in bridging water policy knowledge boundaries and linking policy decision making and action, the authors conducted a grounded theory study of key congressional legislative staff in the US House and Senate involved in federal water policy development and oversight. Federal legislative water policies are largely shaped and developed by senior congressional legislative staff, whose policy priorities, decisions, and actions are influenced by policy-related information. Three conceptual themes emerged from the study as common priorities for legislative staff: (1) developing trusted relationship-information networks; (2) prioritizing relevant stakeholder interests; and (3) maximizing efforts to achieve desired results. While the use of policy information is largely determined by the staff’s multiple principal-agent roles, competing interests and other constraints, results of this study suggest that information quality criteria can be useful as heuristic tools for both intuitive judgments and reasoning of legislative decision makers and for transferring knowledge across science-policy action boundaries.

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Why is it important?

Explore the influence of information in bridging water policy knowledge boundaries and linking policy decision making and action.

Perspectives

While the use of policy information is largely determined by the staff’s multiple principal-agent roles, competing interests and other constraints, results of this study suggest that information quality criteria can be useful as heuristic tools for both intuitive judgments and reasoning of legislative decision makers and for transferring knowledge across science-policy action boundaries.

Dr. Tim Petty
University of Alaska Fairbanks

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This page is a summary of: Bridging policy and science action boundaries: information influences on US congressional legislative key staff decision making in natural resources, Policy Sciences, February 2018, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1007/s11077-018-9311-y.
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