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Deliberative democracy, participation, and OECD peer reviews of environmental policies
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 08:25 authored by Markku Lehtonen
Deliberative democracy has attracted increasing attention in political science and has been suggested as a normative ideal for evaluation. This article analyzes to what extent evaluations carried out in a highly government-driven manner can nevertheless contribute to deliberative democracy. This potential is examined by taking the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's environmental performance reviews as an example of an expert-led evaluative process built on the ideals of representative democracy. The author argues that although they are not participatory, these reviews lay the groundwork for deliberative democracy by "empowering" weaker actors within governments and by improving the factual basis for political debate and decision making. This example suggests that to enhance deliberative democracy, the evaluation process need not be highly inclusive, dialogical, and deliberative but that a broader view is needed, encompassing the indirect impacts of evaluation on power relations and on the knowledge basis on which decision making relies.
JournalAmerican Journal of Evaluation
Department affiliated with
- SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Publications
NotesThis paper tackles a key issue for SPRU¿s new agenda, in asking whether environmental review programmes such as those of the OECD can be regarded as instances of `deliberative democracy¿. The paper contends that the latter does not necessarily require high inclusion or dialogue, but needs to consider the power relations underlying relevant knowledge bases.
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