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Tracing the use of evaluations in legislative processes in Swiss cantonal parliaments


Eberli, Daniela (2018). Tracing the use of evaluations in legislative processes in Swiss cantonal parliaments. Evaluation and Program Planning, 69:139-147.

Abstract

Several studies have challenged the notion that members of parliament use information from evaluations to make policies. However, it is also argued that the function of evaluations in an inherently political context such as parliament is to provide arguments and justifications rather than simply supply information for policymaking. This paper provides a fine-grained account of the use of evaluations by members of parliament in the context of political conflict. Previous research has highlighted the importance of this factor, but the findings are controversial. Here, four case studies of policy processes in two Swiss cantonal parliaments illustrate that political conflict is highly context-specific. Documentary analysis and interviews show that the members of parliament used evaluations to inform themselves as well as to gain political support in the moderately contested case. This both supports and challenges previous research. Comparing the cases reveals that the administration’s use of evaluations strongly influences their use in the non-professional cantonal parliaments. However, Switzerland's semi-direct democracy and its conflict-resolving mechanisms shape and limit this role, particularly if political conflict is high.

Abstract

Several studies have challenged the notion that members of parliament use information from evaluations to make policies. However, it is also argued that the function of evaluations in an inherently political context such as parliament is to provide arguments and justifications rather than simply supply information for policymaking. This paper provides a fine-grained account of the use of evaluations by members of parliament in the context of political conflict. Previous research has highlighted the importance of this factor, but the findings are controversial. Here, four case studies of policy processes in two Swiss cantonal parliaments illustrate that political conflict is highly context-specific. Documentary analysis and interviews show that the members of parliament used evaluations to inform themselves as well as to gain political support in the moderately contested case. This both supports and challenges previous research. Comparing the cases reveals that the administration’s use of evaluations strongly influences their use in the non-professional cantonal parliaments. However, Switzerland's semi-direct democracy and its conflict-resolving mechanisms shape and limit this role, particularly if political conflict is high.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:strategy and management, geography, planning and development, public health, environmental and occupational health, business and international management, social psychology evaluation use, policymaking, parliament, Switzerland, case study
Language:English
Date:August 2018
Deposited On:28 Nov 2018 14:42
Last Modified:24 Sep 2019 23:55
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0149-7189
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2016.09.007
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDCRSII1_141893
  • : Project TitlePolicy Evaluation in the Swiss Political System - Roots and Fruits

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