Experts in Science and Society Edited by Elke Kurz-Milcke Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, Georgia Gerd Gigerenzer Max Planck Institute for Human Development Berlin, Germany KLUWER ACADEMIC PUBLISHERSNEW YORK, BOSTON, DORDRECHT, LONDON, MOSCOW
Preface For none of those systems of thought without which we cannot do if we want to conceive of those parts of reality which are significant in each case, can possibly exhaust the infinite richness of reality. None is anything else than an attempt (…) to bring order into the chaos of those facts, which in each case we have included within the sphere of our interest. Max Weber1 Experts are called in when there is something at stake for an individual, a group, or society at large. This volume represents a multi-authored endeavor towards a nuanced understanding of the expert in modern societies. The initial impetus for bringing together the contributors to this volume came from an invitational meeting by the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science. This meet- ing, a Schloessmann Seminar, gathered a group of young scientists and established scholars to discuss research and research proposals pertinent to the phenomenon of The Expert in Modern Societies, Past and Present. The specific opportunity af- forded by this seminar and, subsequently, this volume has been inclusiveness as regards scientific disciplines and research domains. This volume is about experts and by the same token about science, cultures, political systems, representational practices, public debate, organizations, institutions, law, ethics, modernity, risk,environmental protection, and, last but not least, about expertise. Expertise easily appears to be a personal attribute. After all, who would wantto argue with the verity that experts have expertise, and are called in for their ex-pertise? Semantics notwithstanding, the chapters in this volume demonstratethat it would be ill-advised to consider expertise merely a personal attribute, nomatter how skilled, knowledgeable, and educated a person may be. Nevertheless,this volume is focused on experts and in many ways on people. We think that thischoice has served the project well for advancing our understanding of expertise.A human-centered perspective on expertise brings home the actualities of expertsliving in particular societies, participating in particular organizations and institu-tions, engaging in particular practices, and thus partaking in particular cultures. We recognize that in many areas of society, especially in those related totraining and education, the issue arises of how to best foster well-versed exper-tise. The answer is in engaging students, and we think the same must be assumedfor the study of expertise. The chapters in this volume engage with the particu-larities of the historical cases that the authors have chosen. The sociologist andoccasional methodologist of the cultural and social sciences Max Weber realized 1 1921, Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Wissenschaftslehre (p. 207) [Collected Essays in the Logicof Science], Tübingen, Germany: Mohr. Cited in an English translation by Thomas Burger, 1976,Max Weber’s theory of concept formation: History, laws, and ideal types, Durham, NC: Duke Univer-sity Press. v
vi Preface that such engagement does not need to run counter to characterizations in terms of more general categories that serve understanding beyond the particulars of a case. In fact, Weber thought that the social scientist’s engagement with historical events and relationships could not but be coupled with emphasis on such cate- gories. In Weber’s position we sense a call for boldness and reasonableness when it comes to our engagement with particular cases of expertise, past and present. We can boldly assume that with the analyses of particular cases, we bespeak larger issues related to expertise in modern societies, and reasonably do so to the extent that we are careful in our analyses. The preparation of this volume was generously supported by the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, who provided the means to gather the authors at a three-day Schloessmann Seminar and funded the editorial work on this volume. We thank the members of the participating Max Planck Institutes (MPI), in particular, Hans-Jörg Albrecht (MPI for Foreign and International Criminal Law), Jürgen Baumert (MPI for Human Development), Lorraine Daston and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (MPI for the History of Science), Renate Mayntz (MPI for the Study of Societies), Hartmut Lehmann and Manfred Jakubowski-Tiessen (MPI for History), Gerhard Schricker (MPI for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law), Manfred E. Streit (MPI for Research into Economic Systems), and James W. Vaupel (MPI for Demographic Research). We also wish to thank Jean-Paul Brodeur, Karin Knorr Cetina, and Willem Wage- naar for their participation in the Seminar and their commentaries on various contributions during the workshop. As editors, we are grateful to a number of scholars for their willingness to serve as reviewers for the contributions in this volume, among them Valerie Chase, Salvatore Ciriacono, Peter Imhof, Lothar Krappmann, Stephanie Kurzenhäuser, Gero Lenhardt, Renate Mayntz, François Mélard, Theodore Porter, Frank Stahnisch, Heike Trappe, and Ryan Tweney. Wewere greatly supported in the editorial work by Anita Todd and Christel Fraser,who both went out of their way in editing language and text. We are also gratefulto the staff at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin fortheir support with the preparation of the manuscript for this volume and the re-lated organizational tasks: Jürgen Baumgarten, Dagmar Fecht, Hannes Gerhardt,Dagmar Gülow, Ulrich Kuhnert, Erika Nüssle, Erna Schiwietz, and Rona Unrau. As editors, we wish to express our gratitude to the authors of this volume forkeeping a strong commitment to this publication and for enduring an editorialprocess that took longer and was more intense than any of us had probably an-ticipated. The Schloessmann Seminar is an ongoing series of workshops by theMax Planck Society in memory of Dr. Ernst-Rudolf Schloessmann, a formersupporting member of the Society, and especially dedicated to the encourage-ment of challenging research proposals by young scholars. The aim of the Semi-nar is to bring young people together, whose voices tell and whose views shapewhat most of this volume is about. As a result, we had the opportunity to workwith a dynamic and also mobile group of authors, which turned keeping the listof affiliations and addresses up-to-date into an ongoing task. Working with thisgroup has expanded “the sphere of our interest.”
ContentsSection 1Political Systems and the Experts They Support 1 Scientists as Expert Advisors: Science Cultures Versus National Cultures? Horst Rakel 3 2 Experts’ Discourses as Judicial Drama or Bureaucratic Coordination: Family Debate in the United States and Germany Wolfgang Walter 27 3 The Integration of Social Science Expertise Into the Political Process: Did It Actually Happen? Gabriele Metzler 47 4 Socialist Legal Experts: A New Profession? Ute Schneider 65Section 2Who Is Called Upon as Expert? 5 Folklore Protection in Australia: Who Is Expert in Aboriginal Tradition? Christoph Antons 85 6 The Humane Expert: The Crisis of Modern Medicine During the Weimar Republic Michael Hau 105 7 Expertise Not Wanted: The Case of the Criminal Law Jean-Paul Brodeur 123 8 Air Pollution Control: Who Are the Experts? Matthias Heymann 159 vii
viii ContentsSection 3Experts, Redefined 9 The Philosopher as Coach Andreas Føllesdal 181 10 Who Decides the Worth of an Arm and a Leg? Assessing the Monetary Value of Nonmonetary Damage Fenna H. Poletiek and Carel J. J. M. Stolker 201 11 The Expert in a Historical Context: The Case of Venetian Politics Achim Landwehr 215Section 4Innovative Representations 12 Mapping Urban Nature: Bio-Ecological Expertise and Urban Planning Jens Lachmund 231 13 How to Improve the Diagnostic Inferences of Medical Experts Ulrich Hoffrage and Gerd Gigerenzer 249 14 Statistical Scientific Evidence and Expertise in the Courtroom Samuel Lindsey 269 15 The Authority of Representations Elke Kurz-Milcke 281 Name Index 303 Subject Index 311
Section 1 Political Systems and the Experts They Support The chapters in this first section span a wide terrain, relating experts and political systems as historical individuals. The presented case studies make plain that polit- ical systems are not merely a context for the experts’ agency. Rather, the study of the experts’ standing and advice can serve as an entrance to the study of the insti- tutional organizations and the political systems that call upon these experts. How is it possible that expert advisors in the United States and Europe reach widely diverging conclusions concerning the standards required to protect pub- lic health and the environment? Horst Rakel’s chapter brings out how risk assess- ment and the related interpretation of probabilistic scientific evidence is in the culture of the beholder, particularly the expert advisor’s national culture. In a comparative case study of family policy in Germany and the United States in re- cent decades, Wolfgang Walter argues that the occasionally heated debate sur- rounding this issue in America, and the comparatively moderate debate in Ger- many, each are reflections of the organization of experts within the respective po- litical field. Experts on family policy in Germany and the United States meet in differing arenas and relate in differing ways to the public discourse. According to Walter’s analysis, the institutionalized interaction of experts shapes family policy in the two nations. As historical individuals, political systems and the specific powers within them come and go. The chapters by Gabriele Metzler and Ute Schneider empha-size the transient nature of political systems and the consequent changing de-mands and opportunities for the experts. Metzler’s case study portrays the inte-gration of social scientific knowledge into the political process of West Germanyafter the Second World War. After the fall of the Nazi regime a modernization ofsociety and government was to be achieved. Planning, as a scientifically basedpolitical instrument, was regarded as a key to a modern political program, espe-cially by the Social Democrats. However, as we can learn from Metzler’s analysis,social scientific expertise prominently took an alternate avenue to cast its influ-ence on the political and administrative elite in West Germany: higher educationand related informal networks. Finally, Schneider asks what happens to a professional elite after the politicalsystem that supported this elite comes to an end. In the German Democratic Re-public, the elite of legal professionals, which has had an extensive history withinGermany, was regarded as an obstacle to the reshaping of society. Schneidershows how radical changes on one level, the level of the political system, play outon another, the organizational, with the new regime relying to a significant ex-tent on the same historical individuals, alias experts, across the political divide. 1
Chapter 1 Scientists as Expert Advisors: Science Cultures Versus National Cultures? Horst Rakel Center for Environmental Risks, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK email@example.com Since the onset of the Enlightenment, the role of science and its scientist(s) has gained a growing significance in the political sphere of modern societies. Using scientists as expert advisors to policymakers is now so commonplace that it rarely generates public or media interest in the precise nature of the role of, or the in- put provided by, these experts. On the contrary, expert advice, these days, is an essential ingredient in policymaking, supplying the competence and intelligence necessary to assure the public at large that policies and regulations have been based on the best knowledge available, provided by sources independent of com- peting interests. In that sense, science and scientists serve to rationalize policy- making (Jasanoff, 1990). However, relative to the experts’ importance in the policymaking process, thework of these advisors is poorly documented and the construction and the appli-cation of expert knowledge is rarely scrutinized. This is all the more surprisinggiven the awareness that all knowledge is preliminary and/or socially constructed (Adorno et al., 1972; Habermas, 1969; Kuhn, 1970). Yet, only a few scholarshave taken up the task to review, systematically and critically, the activities of ex-pert advisors in the regulatory process (Foster, Bernstein, & Huber, 1993; Haas, 1992; Irwin, 1995; Jasanoff, 1990; Salter, Leiss, & Levy, 1988). This task hasbeen approached from differing theoretical perspectives, and a synthesizingframework of how to analyze expert involvement in policymaking has not yetbeen established. Additional complexity arises if we turn to risk-based policy-making on a multinational or even global level. Apart from very few exceptions,scholarly investigations on expert involvement in policymaking focus either onissues of risk and decision making within a national framework, or on multina-tional programs with little or no reference to questions of risk and decision mak-ing. Thus, we usually find either the international dimension or the uncertaintydimension missing from the analyses. Given frequently competing, or even contradictory expert advice on risk reg-ulation, the question arises which factors are responsible for this divergence ofsupposedly rational actors, basing their judgment on scientific evidence. So far, 3
4 Horst Rakelmost of the academic debate concerning this question has revolved either aroundthe national cultures, in which the experts are embedded, or around the sciencecultures, to which the experts belong, according to their professional training andrespective affiliations. The thesis pursued by this chapter is that both aspects arenecessary for a comprehensive analysis of expert advice on risk regulation withinan international context. Three theoretical perspectives have been selected thatwill serve to show how focusing solely on the nationally or professionally definedcontexts of the role of science and the scientist in standard setting, guideline de-velopment, and the determination of “best practice” methods is insufficient. With the accelerating globalization of trade, the harmonization of environ-mental, health, and safety standards is rapidly becoming a major international is-sue. Two case studies will help to illustrate the role of scientists as expert advisorsin the development of environmental, health, and safety regulations with multi-national and global implications; one case study concerns the regulation of sew-age sludge land application, the other the dispute over hormone-raised beef.Both case studies involve a comparison of how the respective issue has been dealtwith in the United States and in the European Union (EU). In each case, the re-spective regulation was developed on the basis of expert advice and scientific evi-dence but, nevertheless, led to considerably different regulations in the EU, onthe one hand, and the USA, on the other. The marked differences between thesetwo economic entities will be discussed under three theoretical perspectives:epistemic community formation (Haas, 1992), a cultural bias theory (Douglas& Wildavsky, 1982; O’Riordan & Wynne, 1987; Renn, 1995), and a regulatoryscience approach (Irwin, Rothstein, Yearley, & McCarthy, 1997; Jasanoff, 1990,1995). Based on the evidence provided by the two case studies, we will discuss towhat extent these analytical frameworks can provide for a comprehensive inter-pretation of the role of science and the scientist(s) in the regulatory decision-making process. Environmental and Public Health Standard SettingThe interest in the role of science in the environmental and public health stan-dard setting has grown over the last decade. Apart from appearing in a numberof scholarly investigations, the subject has also increasingly caught the interest ofnational governments and regulatory agencies. In the USA, for instance, productsafety standard setting has been subject to a thorough review by the Office ofTechnology Assessment (Garcia, 1992). Recently, the United Kingdom’s RoyalCommission on Environmental Pollution concluded a 3-year study with a de-tailed report on environmental standard setting (Royal Commission on Envi-ronmental Pollution, 1998). The reasons behind this increasing attention arecomplex and manifold: Two main forces are globalization and scientification.
Scientists as Expert Advisors: Science Cultures Versus National Cultures? 5 GlobalizationIn recent years, the internationalization of markets and trade has assumed a newquality, with trade volumes worth billions of dollars circulating around theglobe. In 1992, almost half of the US-manufactured goods exported to the EUwere subject to product safety standards alone (Garcia, 1992, p. 537). Compli-ance with environmental regulations, worldwide, was estimated to cost $500 bil-lion by the year 2000 (Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, 1998,p. 1). Competition has transcended national boundaries as much as knowledgedissemination and communication. The internet and electronic publishing havemade advances in scientific knowledge by being almost instantly availablearound the globe and scientific journals without international editorial boardsare increasingly considered substandard in the academic community. Globaleconomic actors are rapidly forming, Daimler-Chrysler being a particularlyprominent case in point. However, global industrial enterprises and the interna-tional financial markets are insufficiently controlled through national regulatoryframeworks. In the absence of a credible global (political) decision-making body,institutions, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the InternationalStandards Organization (ISO), or the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex)have stepped in to fill the regulatory vacuum and to provide the much-needed“level playing field.” Common to these agencies is their strong dependence onscientific committees, that is, on expert advice.ScientificationSince the Enlightenment, the scientification (Verwissenschaftlichung) of modernsociety has been subject to scholarly debate. Some have argued that science hasexpanded its ambitions to control the natural environment and into controllingsociety, rationalizing social processes for the purpose of technological advance-ment (Habermas, 1969; Horkheimer & Adorno, 1947; van der Loo & vanReijen, 1992). However, critique concerning such ambitions has not diminishedthe penetrating power of science in all aspects of human life. Value-adding eco-nomic processes nowadays almost always depend on scientific advances or theapplication of scientific knowledge in previously “underdeveloped” areas. Cur-rently the service industries, such as logistics, energy services, catering, or tele-communications services, are undergoing rapid changes, primarily due to tech-nological advances and increasing computerization. This scientification of the“lifeworld” (Habermas, 1981) threatens to exclude nonexperts from public dis-course (Jasanoff, 1990; Renn, Webler, & Wiedemann, 1995; Webler, Rakel, &Ross, 1992), elevating a scientific rationale to the position of being the only ac-ceptable basis for decision making (Shrader-Frechette, 1991). Consequently, thecommand over scientific knowledge and the interpretation of scientific evidenceoccupies a central position in the resolution of interests, problems, and societalconflicts.
6 Horst Rakel Scientific evidence in the area of environmental and public health standardsetting is, more often than not, contradictory. What one expert interprets as theabsence of proof, another views as certainty found wanting (Bayerische Rück,1993). Consider, for instance, the case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy(BSE) or “mad cow disease.” Initially, the British government did not act on thematter since a relationship between BSE and the Creutzfeld-Jakob disease wasnot scientifically proven. But, it was also not proven that BSE did not have thesuspected effect. Public pressure eventually forced the EU Commission to issue aban on the import of British beef. Yet, there was no conclusive scientific evidencefor either claim. Despite being subject to interpretation, expert advice is often mandated as aprecondition for an objective assessment of the issue to be regulated (Arbeitsge-meinschaft für Umweltfragen, 1986; Royal Commission on Environmental Pol-lution, 1998). In recent years, this has triggered an increasingly controversial ac-ademic debate on the role of science and scientists in the process of regulatorydecision making. Scholars in the field have highlighted the political dimensionof “regulatory” science (Irwin et al., 1997; Jasanoff, 1990; Salter et al., 1988),the influence of cultural background and regulatory styles (Coppock, 1985;Douglas & Wildavsky, 1982; Jasanoff, 1986; O’Riordan & Wynne, 1987; Renn,1995), the technocratization of expert advice (Webler et al., 1992), and the roleof science in the courtroom (Foster & Huber, 1999; Foster et al., 1993; Kagan,1994). Analysis of Expert Input to Regulatory Decision Making on an International LevelA theoretical framework for the analysis of expert input to regulatory decisionmaking on an international level is still missing. Existing approaches focus on in-ternational agreements, national decision making, and the scientific basis forregulatory standard setting. In the following, three approaches will be intro-duced to illustrate the potential of a synthesis of differing perspectives on regula-tory decision making. Haas’s (1992) epistemic community formation providesan excellent “backbone” for such a synthesis, but needs to be embedded in a reg-ulatory science framework informed by the cultural, that is, socially constructed,dimension of risk evaluation.Epistemic CommunitiesDrawing on work in the area of international policy coordination, Haas (1992)and Adler and Haas (1992) introduced the notion of networks of knowledge-based experts, that is, epistemic communities, as an important factor in nationaland international policymaking. According to these authors, epistemic commu-nities play a decisive role in “articulating the cause-and-effect relationships of
Scientists as Expert Advisors: Science Cultures Versus National Cultures? 7complex problems, helping States identify their interests, framing issues for col-lective debate, proposing specific policies, and identifying salient points for ne-gotiation” (Haas, 1992, p. 2). These expert communities are characterized by: a shared set of normative and principled beliefs, providing a value-based ra- tionale for social action, shared causal beliefs, shared notions of validity, a common policy enterprise.Thus, epistemic communities provide consensual knowledge. Based on theirreputation, professional training, and claim to scientific authority, members ofan epistemic community can wield considerable influence over domestic and in-ternational policy debates, particularly if their expertise is anchored in an areahighly valued by society or elite decision makers. Haas emphasizes that the dy-namics underlying the formation of epistemic communities is based on the aimto reduce uncertainty, so much dreaded by policymakers. Central to this aim isnot just the presence of “raw” data, or the absence of guesses, but knowledge asthe product of human interpretation of social and physical phenomena (Haas,1992, p. 4). With respect to research methodology, Haas (1992) recommends acombination of tools largely drawn from the ethnomethodological and struc-tural analysis toolbox. This approach focuses on biographical data, such as publi-cations, delegation lists to meetings and conferences, testimonies before legisla-tive bodies, and speeches and reports for decision-making agencies, but can alsoinclude the analysis of mathematical models to identify key variables and equa-tions used by epistemic community members.Cultural Bias TheoryThe term “cultural bias theory” is used here as an umbrella for a number of ap-proaches that have grown considerably diverse over the last decades. Culturalbias approaches differ greatly depending on the definition of the social groupthat one wishes to analyze. However, all of them share the notion of culture as adetermining factor in the formation of knowledge, policies, or larger societaltrends (Douglas & Wildavsky, 1982; Geertz, 1973; Hofstede, 1994; Inglehart,1990; Jasanoff, 1986; Rohe, 1990). Of particular interest, for this chapter, arenotions of culture as a “world-view” and the manifestation of culture in rulemaking or policymaking, variably referred to as “regulatory style,” “regulatoryculture,” or “political style.” Such “cultures” or “styles” have, for instance, beenidentified as “hierarchical,” “entrepreneurial,” or “egalitarian” (Douglas &Wildavsky, 1982). According to this theoretical perspective, national back-grounds appear to be less important than the affiliation with professional and so-cial groups, such as, for example, “bankers,” “politicians,” or “environmental ac-tivists.” With respect to the analysis of risk management, one would inquirewhether the risks to be regulated are perceived to be “objective” or socially “con-structed.” From an “objective” viewpoint, a “rational” actor or society would reg-
8 Horst Rakelulate risks equally based on comparable parameters. These risks could encom-pass, for example, the number of fatalities per year associated with a given activ-ity. From this perspective, it is highly inconsistent to regulate nuclear poweroperations in Germany to a (theoretical) risk level of less than 8 fatalities per yearwhile, at the same time, accepting a death toll of some 8,000 traffic-related fatal-ities in that same society (Fritzsche, 1991). Likewise, all “hard” drugs taken to-gether claim 2,500 victims in Germany every year, whereas nicotine alone kills100,000, equivalent to a jumbo jet with a full complement of passengers crash-ing every day. Yet, these 365 “jumbo crashes” arouse no public interest at all, even though they entail not only much personal suffering but also considerable societal cost. (…) “Risk,” it seems, is all in the mind—a construct. (Bayerische Rück, 1993, p. 7)Cultural bias may also be approached from the position of “regulatory styles.” Anumber of scholars argue that risk regulation is part of a national style of govern-ment (Coppock, 1985; Jasanoff, 1986; O’Riordan & Wynne, 1987; Renn,1995). The respective style of governmental decision making and, in particular,the way in which expertise is utilized and public opinion is elicited are con-sidered to have a strong bearing on the process and outcome of governmentalregulation. Especially in the context of comparisons between the EU and theUSA, styles have been labeled consensual and corporatist versus adversarial. Otherresearch has emphasized the US focus on due process and the (Northern) Euro-pean orientation toward consultation and round-table decision making(Coppock, 1985; Joss & Durant, 1995; O’Riordan & Wynne, 1987; Renn,1995).Regulatory Science Over the last ten years or so, a growing number of scholars have identified the role of science in regulatory decision making as a research subject in its own right (Irwin, 1995; Irwin et al., 1997; Jasanoff, 1990, 1997; Salter et al., 1988). In particular, it is argued that science used in rule making does not, and cannot proceed under the same conditions, or adhere to the same standards characteris- tic of academic science. In many areas, for example, in the case of new chemicalsor pharmaceutical drugs, regulation has to address risks that are not yet fully un-derstood. Test results from animal studies are extrapolated to the human body,although underlying processes and mechanisms are largely unknown. Regulatoryaction is based on a limited pool of scientific knowledge, analogies drawn fromsimilar cases in the past, and the collective opinions of leading experts in the re-spective field. Consequently, risk assessments employed by regulatory agencieshave often been described as an “art” rather than as a science, and as working byless stringent norms than ordinary science (Irwin et al., 1997; National ResearchCouncil [NRC], 1996; Rohrmann, 1993).
Scientists as Expert Advisors: Science Cultures Versus National Cultures? 9 Because of the variety of assumptions, opinions, and interpretations included in environmental and public health standard setting, a number of critics have pointed out the potential for bias and manipulation in the regulatory science context. For some, science in the regulatory process may become subjugated to political interests disguised in scientific jargon (Irwin et al., 1997, p. 19; Jasanoff, 1990). Because of its location at the leading edge of technology, it has also been emphasized that scientific knowledge required in the regulatory pro- cess often is not available in the public domain. As for new drugs, information is of a proprietary nature and cannot be publicly scrutinized, or knowledge has to be specifically generated for the purpose of regulatory action. It follows that ac- cess to information and control over the respective information, with its implica- tions for democratic legitimacy, become important variables in the standard- setting process (Irwin et al., 1997; Jasanoff, 1990, 1997; Salter et al., 1988). The following two case studies concern strongly risk-driven regulatory issues; both are comparatively well documented (and, therefore, accessible to policy analysis). They provide a unique opportunity to compare two groups of experts acting on identical, or nearly identical, regulatory issues. The two case studies also complement each other. Sewage Sludge Regulations were developed at a time when the international political stakes were still low. If there was any inter- national debate at all, it was mostly occurring in academic circles, and finding a resolution to the problem of sewage sludge land application, on an international level, was not a major objective. The hormone-raised beef dispute, on the other hand, arose at a time when the international political stakes were already high and the timetable for a resolution fixed by WTO procedures. Taken together, the two case studies will serve to illustrate the importance of multiple theoretical perspectives on the role of scientists as expert advisors in regulatory decision making.Case Study I: Land Application of Sewage SludgeSewage sludge is the (largely organic) residue left after waterborne waste (sewage)from domestic and industrial sources has been treated. Whereas the effluent ofsewage treatment plants, in most cases, is clean enough to be discharged into riv-ers or the sea, contaminants present in raw sewage accumulate in the solid phase.Thus, sewage sludge usually contains a number of organic and inorganic pollu-tants (e.g., heavy metals) of varying quantity, depending on the area and thecomposition of the sources discharging into the sewer system. However, becauseof its origin, sewage sludge also holds considerable amounts of plant nutrientsand physical properties that make it a valuable fertilizer and soil improver (Page,Logan, & Ryan, 1987). The application of sewage sludge to agricultural land would be a beneficialrecycling practice if risks to public health and the environment were not of con-cern. Although sewage sludge had been spread onto soil for many years, the issueattracted renewed regulatory attention in the late 1980s and early 1990s because
10 Horst Rakelof international agreements to ban the disposal of sewage sludge into the sea(Marshal, 1988; McGrath et al., 1989). At the same time, tightening standardson wastewater treatment led to increasing quantities of sewage sludge that stillcontinues. In the United Kingdom, for example, the total amount of sewagesludge is projected to rise from roughly 1 million tons (dry solids) in 1992 to 1.5million tons by 2005 (Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, 1996,p. 82). Similarly, in 1991, 3.2 million tons were generated in Germany, rising toan estimated 4 million tons by the year 2000 (Abwassertechnische Vereinigung[ATV], 1996, p. 15). So, while one of the major disposal routes has been shutdown, the overall amount to be disposed of continues to rise. This disparity ex-plains, in part, the political pressure to find an adequate solution to the problemof sewage sludge disposal.In the USA: Experts Criticizing ExpertsThe development of Sewage Sludge Regulation in the USA commenced in thelate 1970s and turned out to be particularly long winded (Chaney, 1990a;Marshal, 1988). After prolonged political haggling, in particular between Con-gress and the Reagan administration, the development of federal sludge regula-tion—also known as “Rule 503”—eventually took shape in the late 1980s. In1989, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a draft regula-tion for commentary (EPA, 1989). The strictness and range of the standards sentshock waves through the industry and upset many experts outside the EPA(Chaney, 1990a, 1990b; Morse, 1989; see Table 1). As a result, considerable re-sistance was shaping up and thousands of responses to the proposed Rule arrivedat the agency, eventually adding up to some 5,500 pages of commentary (EPA,1995, p. 20). While controversial public debate is not unusual in the US regulatory process(Kagan, 1994; Renn, 1995), the amount and the intensity of criticism leveled bya number of experts outside the EPA were perhaps more ferocious than anybody
Scientists as Expert Advisors: Science Cultures Versus National Cultures? 11within the regulatory agency had expected. “Obituaries were being written” forthe agricultural use of sewage sludge (Goldstein, 1991, p. 68). “They [the EPA]went overboard” commented Professor Terry Logan of Ohio State University(Morse, 1989, p. 50). One of the most outspoken critics, Dr. Rufus Chaneyfrom the US Department of Agriculture, was particularly concerned about thedisregard for the benefits associated with sludge land application, such as its highcontent in plant nutrients, as well as its soil conditioning and erosion preventionproperties, among others. One last aspect of sludge use on cropland that should never be forgotten, is that beneficial use lowers the net cost to society. (…) Taxpayers need regula- tions for sludge utilization based on proper research findings so that the minimum cost associated with environmental protection can be obtained. (Chaney, 1990a, p. 55)To the outside observer this reaction was all the more surprising, as the EPA had conducted a very elaborate risk assessment backed up by extensive experimental studies and documentation. In this respect, the EPA had adhered to the princi-ple of a science-based approach that is considered to be at the heart of regulatorydecision making in the USA (EPA, 1995, p. iii; NRC, 1982). Yet, while the ex-pert critics did not question the risk-assessment approach per se, they attackedthe EPA on the grounds that the assumptions and the models used in the risk-assessment process were overly conservative and the experimental data employeddid not adequately represent pollutant behavior in the field (EPA, 1995). The widespread criticism that the 1989 draft Rule received led to the estab-lishment of a Scientific Advisory Committee whose brief was to assist the EPAwith revising the Rule. The Peer Review Committee was largely composed ofhigh-profile researchers in the field and was co-chaired by Professor Logan (OhioState University) and Professor Page (University of California, Riverside). To-gether with Drs. Chaney, Logan, and Page, the team consisted of ten additionalexperts from institutions all over the USA and Canada (EPA, 1995, p. 141). Atleast half of the members of the Scientific Advisory Committee had joint publi-cations (Chaney et al., 1987; Chang et al., 1987; Jacobs, O’Connor, Overcash,Zabik, & Rygiewicz, 1987; Logan & Chaney, 1987; Mahler, Bingham, Page, &Ryan, 1982; McGrath, Chang, Page, & Witter, 1994; Page et al., 1987). Thispeer review process and the work of the Scientific Advisory Committee led to aset of recommendations that the EPA used for revising the proposed Rule 503.Some of the key elements of the revision are briefly described below: Validity of survey data. The original data set used for assessing sludge qualityin the “40-Cities-Study” was considered outdated. The EPA had already beenaware of the limitations of this study as a database for the assessment of sewagesludge quality during its development of the 1989 Rule (EPA, 1989, p. 5763).This led the EPA to conduct the National Sewage Sludge Survey (NSSS) during1988 to 1989. The NSSS used state-of-the-art analytical techniques and equip-ment and covered a wider spread of Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs)
12 Horst Rakel to assure a more representative assessment of the current situation (EPA, 1995, p. 20). The results of the NSSS showed that the contaminant levels in the sludges were generally much lower than indicated by the “40-Cities-Study.” Lead con- centrations, for example, were only at 40% of their previously assumed levels. Also the levels for chlorinated hydrocarbons were lower than expected (EPA, 1995, p. 21). Validity of experimental data. In the proposed Rule the EPA relied largely ongreenhouse and pot studies to calculate the pollutant uptake by plants. Thesestudies simulated pollutant concentrations in soil through application of metalsalts or pure organic compounds. The Scientific Advisory Committee was ableto demonstrate that the behavior of sewage sludge pollutants in the field wasconsiderably different from the experiments in the greenhouse. Because of cer-tain matrix effects in the sewage sludge and the so-called “Soil-Plant Barrier,”transfer rates found in field studies were much lower than the rates determinedin laboratory experiments (Chaney, 1980, p. 63, 1990a, p. 56). The EPA accepted the results from field studies as being more representativeof real-world situations and decided, for the revised Rule, to rely as far as possi-ble on data from field studies (EPA, 1995, p. 28). Revision of exposure path models. The models employed for the proposed Ruleassumed a 100% transfer of a pollutant simultaneously into ground water, sur-face water, and air. That approach was deemed too conservative. The revisedRule assumed a mass-balance approach, whereby the pollutant transfers are pro-portionally assigned to the respective medium. From MEI to HEI. One of the core criticisms leveled against the EPA was theuse of the Most Exposed Individual (MEI) model. In the eyes of the Peer Re-view Committee, the MEI combined too many conservative assumptions andrepresented an individual that could not exist in reality. To conduct a risk assess-ment for a hypothetical person was, according to the critics, pointless (Chaney,1990b, p. 70; Morse, 1989, p. 50). Because of the Peer Review Committees rec-ommendations the EPA administrator decided to drop the MEI and replace itwith the Highly Exposed Individual (HEI) model (Habicht, 1992). In contrastto the MEI, the HEI was considered to provide a more representative model ofthose being at a higher risk than the general population. The “worst case” as-sumptions of the MEI were, thus, replaced by an “unlikely case” scenario in theHEI model. Risk-level scenarios. For the proposed regulation, the EPA originally evaluatedscenarios for risk levels of and (i.e., scenarios evaluating fatalitiesper 10,000/100,000/1,000,000 exposed population). Since the new risk assess-ments indicated a very low risk, even at the current practice of sewage sludge dis-posal, the EPA made the policy decision to use, in general, the level of for
Scientists as Expert Advisors: Science Cultures Versus National Cultures? 13 the revised Rule. This level then represents the lifetime cancer risk of a highly ex- posed individual (EPA, 1995, p. 35). Omission of organic compounds. Organic compounds were deleted from therevised Rule because all of the reviewed substances fulfilled at least one of the fol-lowing three criteria: The pollutant has been banned or restricted for use in the USA, or is no longer manufactured for use in the USA. The pollutant is not present in sludges at significant frequencies of detection based on data gathered in the NSSS. The limit for a pollutant from the sludge exposure assessment is not expected to be exceeded in sludges that are used, or disposed of, based on data from the NSSS (i.e., the potential limits would most likely not be exceeded in practice anyway). The “exceptional quality” concept. The quality criteria listed as Pollutant Con- centration Limits by Rule 503 represent what has been discussed in the literatureas the “clean sludge concept,” or occasionally the Exceptional Quality (EQ)sludge. This concept was originally suggested by the Peer Review Committee (EPA, 1995, p. 22f.), the basic idea being to issue pollutant concentration limitsthat were so low that the respective sludges can be applied with very little regula-tory constraint (EPA, 1994, p. 7). According to the EPA, EQ concentration lim-its are so low that even when applied over many years no adverse affects to hu-mans or the environment will occur. Thus, in principle, EQ sludges can still beapplied to sites that have already reached their maximum pollutant load. Theselimits are supposed to provide an incentive for the industry to produce high-quality sludges. The Modified Rule 503. In summary, public consultation and, in particular,the activities of the expert Peer Review Committee led to a complete overhaul ofRule 503. After implementing the changes outlined above, as well as a numberof other changes recommended by the Scientific Advisory Committee, the EPAproceeded to publish the final Rule 503 in 1993 (because of a number of law-suits, the details of which cannot be addressed at this point, the Rule receivedadditional minor modifications until 1995). Table 1 shows the dramatic changesin standards from the initial to the final Rule. Apart from the complete omissionof organic pollutants, the limit values for inorganic pollutants have become con-siderably less stringent. A comparison with the corresponding regulation by theEU provides for an interesting point of reference for policy analysts. The devel-opment of the EU Sewage Sludge Regulation is outlined below, followed by adiscussion of the commonalities and differences of the two approaches.
14 Horst RakelIn the EU: Experts Among ThemselvesThe corresponding EU Regulation to Rule 503 is the “Directive on the protec-tion of the environment, and in particular of the soil, when sewage sludge isused in agriculture” (European Communities [EC], 1986). The Directive waspassed in 1986, but has its origins in a European Cooperation in the field of Sci-entific and Technical Research (EU COST) program. The research projectstarted in 1971 and became known as the COST Project 68. The researchproject was extended several times and eventually merged into a proposed regu-lation in 1982. Concerns were raised by the member states about imposing uni-form standards across the whole of the EU, not taking into account regionalvariations and the cost associated with over-stringent standards. However, afterfour years of negotiation, the Council of Ministers eventually formally adoptedthe Directive in 1986 (Haigh, 1995). Since the Directive essentially goes back to a joint EU research project, thelimit values shown in Table 2 were also strongly influenced by expert input. Inthe EU case, however, the majority of the expert input occurred before a proposalwas published. The difference in procedural approaches can perhaps be ex-plained with the different regulatory styles in Western Europe and the USA,which have been described as corporatist and consensual versus adversarial, re-spectively (O’Riordan & Wynne, 1987; Renn, 1995). The elicitation and discussion of expert opinion in the EU developed alongthe above mentioned COST program. Particularly in the late 1970s and early1980s the COST program sponsored a string of expert workshops, where viewswere exchanged and potential regulatory provisions were discussed among theEuropean scientists involved. The proceedings of these conferences were pub-lished on a regular basis, representing a quite extensive documentation of theparticipating experts’ assessment of the issue (Barth & L’Hermite, 1987;
Scientists as Expert Advisors: Science Cultures Versus National Cultures? 15 Berglund, Davis, & L’Hermite, 1984; Davis, Haeni, & L’Hermite, 1986; Davis, Hucker, & L’Hermite, 1983; Hall, Sauerbeck, & L’Hermite, 1992; Hucker & Catroux, 1981; L’Hermite & Ott, 1984). Regulatory decision mak- ing on the EU level, until very recently, was renowned for its intransparency and closed-door political horse trading (Peterson, 1995). Thereby, the rational- ity behind a particular regulation is often completely obscured to an outsider. Fortunately, in the sewage sludge case, the published workshop proceedings doprovide us with a comparatively comprehensive insight into the experts’point(s) of view. The contributions to the COST workshops and the location of the venuesmake clear that the European expert exchange was dominated by presentationsfrom German, Dutch, Swedish, and British scientists. There certainly was a dif-ference in opinion between the more lenient British approach, on the one side,and the precautious Dutch, German, and Scandinavian approach, on the other.This is reflected in the span of limit values the EU allows its member states to im-plement. However, these differences appear insignificant if compared to the USlimit values (see Table 2). What seems to have concerned the European COSTexperts the most was the potential effects of heavy metals, contained in sewagesludge, on soil microorganisms. While the EU researchers took their analysis tothe microbiological level, their US colleagues used earthworm activity as the tar-get organism for their ecological risk assessment (EPA, 1995, p. 46). Field exper-iments in Sweden, Germany, and the United Kingdom, however, had shown po-tential adverse effects on the soil microbe Rhizobium that raised concerns aboutlong-term soil fertility among the European expert community (Chaudri,McGrath, Giller, Rietz, & Sauerbeck, 1993; McGrath et al., 1994, p. 113). Inthis context, McGrath et al. (1994, p. 109) emphasize the difference between theHighest Non Observed Adverse Effect Concentration (HNOAEC) and the Low-est Observed Adverse Effect Concentration (LOAEC), as these may vary consid-erably. Depending on the chosen point of reference otherwise identical toxicitytests may, thus, lead to a different assessment of risk and possibly regulation.Summary of Case Study IThe case study above has illustrated that two expert communities, assessing anidentical environmental issue, have come to widely different conclusions con-
16 Horst Rakelcerning the standards required to protect public health and the environment. Incomparison, the expert community advising the European regulatory body didnot conduct a systematically structured risk assessment of the type of theirAmerican counterparts, except for the Dutch regulator. Instead, they reviewedthe field for evidence of an adverse effect occurring and then drafted their rec-ommendations accordingly, taking into account the technical feasibility of theiradvice. In their review of the experimental data employed in both the US andEU Sewage Sludge Regulations, McGrath et al. concluded: The dilemma of setting pollutant loading limits goes beyond the imperfect scientific evidence, and is influenced by the attitudes of scientists, who inter- pret the data, and of the general public toward environmental protection in the countries concerned. (1994, p. 116)The analysis so far suggests five key dimensions on which the role of experts inthe two regulatory frameworks differ. These differences are summarized inTable 3. Table 3 may be said to overemphasize the disparities between the two frame-works. For instance, European scientists are not solely driven by technical feasi-bility at the expense of scientific accuracy. European countries, such as the United Kingdom, Switzerland, or the Netherlands have been employing risk as-sessment for environmental and public health regulation for many years. In fact,with increasing harmonization of European legislation, risk assessment is be-coming more widespread throughout the EU, for example, in OccupationalSafety Regulations (Rakel, 1996). However, the differences are quite pro-nounced with respect to the way in which uncertainty is handled and environ-mental integrity is interpreted within the respective cultural paradigms. From aUS point of view, the probability of harm above a certain level has to be scientif-ically substantiated to justify regulatory action. In Western Europe, the burdenof proof rests on the other side, that is, it has to be proven beyond reasonabledoubt that harm does not occur. Whereas in the USA environmental change isaccepted, as long as harm to humans is not to be expected, in the EU the precau-tionary principle is the yardstick for the acceptability of human intervention inthe environment. This commitment has recently even been included in theMaastricht Treaty, which has become a cornerstone for political decision makingin the modern EU (Cameron & O’Riordan, 1994).Case Study II: Hormone-Raised BeefBecause of a number of incidents involving illegal drug applications to farm ani-mals, food safety became a rising concern in the EU during the 1970s. As a re-sult, the European Commission proposed legislation to ban, entirely, the use ofhormone products in the rearing of beef and veal (WTO, 1997, p. 9). In the1980s, following reports of significant use of illegal growth-promoting hormonalsubstances in a number of EU member states, several Council Directives were
Scientists as Expert Advisors: Science Cultures Versus National Cultures? 17 passed, effectively banning the use of hormonal substances, except for therapeu- tic purposes (WTO, 1997, p. 10). However, in the USA, as in a number of other countries, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, the use of hormones is permitted for thera- peutic as well as for production purposes. From a US regulatory viewpoint the application of the hormones in question is safe when used for the promotion of growth in accordance with good animal husbandry practices (WTO, 1997, p. 30). Consequently, the EU enacted a ban on the import of hormone-raised beef and veal. In the years prior to the ban US exports of beef and veal to the EU “averaged in the hundreds of millions of dollars” (p. 17), and, most importantly, trade in beef was growing at about 30% a year. After the ban was enacted in 1989, US beef exports to the EU plummeted to nearly zero (p. 17). The USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand held joint consultations with the EU on the issue but failed to reach a mutually satisfactory solution. Hence the USA proceeded to sue the EU before the WTO on the grounds of an unnec- essary restriction of trade under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Following formal procedures, the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the WTO established a panel to investigate and possibly settle the matter. Because the dispute revolved, to a large extent, around scientific matters, the panel decided to conduct an expert hearing on the issue. Based on a list of namesprovided by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) and the InternationalAgency for Research on Cancer (IARC) the panel selected six experts to advisethem: Dr. Francois André, France; Dr. Dieter Arnold, Germany; Dr. GeorgeLucier, USA; Dr. Jock McLean, Australia; Dr. Len Ritter, Canada; Dr. AlanRandell, Codex Secretariat. The composition of the panel has been explicitlyspelled out here as an important input to epistemic community and cultural biasmethodology. The panel ruling and the documentation of the case illustrate that the jointmeeting with the experts was of crucial importance for the dispute settlementprocess (WTO, 1997, 1998). Although the original panel ruling (WTO, 1997)was overturned on certain accounts of appeal, the EU eventually lost the case be-cause its regulatory process and, in particular, its use of scientific expertise wasfound not to be consistent with WTO rules. The main issues are briefly de-scribed below.Risk AssessmentThe first and foremost argument against the EU ban on hormone-raised beefwas the absence of a proper risk assessment (WTO, 1998, p. 99). For the WTO,“An assessment of risks is, at least for risks to human life or health, a scientific ex-amination of data and factual studies; it is not a policy exercise involving socialvalue judgements made by political bodies” (WTO, 1997, p. 191). Article 5.1 ofthe GATT agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) states that (…) members shall insure that their (…) measures are based on an assess- ment, (…) of the risks to human, animal or plant life or health, taking into
18 Horst Rakel account risk assessment techniques developed by the relevant international organizations (Hathaway, 1993, p. 189; WTO, 1997, p. 191).After prolonged deliberation, the panel ruled that the EU had not met its bur-den of proof in that the (scientific) studies it referred to actually fulfilled the re-quirements of a proper risk assessment (WTO, 1997, p. 196).International StandardsSimilarly, the panel also found that the respective EU standards were not in ac-cordance with international standards (WTO, 1997, p. 186ff.). There, the panelwas, in particular, referring to the recommendations published by Codex. Codexpublishes recommendations, such as Acceptable Daily Intakes (ADIs) or Maxi-mum Residue Limits (MRLs). However, Codex recommendations are not bind-ing. One of the expert committees, on which Codex relies, is the Joint Food andAgricultural Organization/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) ExpertCommittee on Food Additives (JECFA). The goal of JECFA’s evaluation of vet-erinary drugs is: (…) to establish safe levels of intake by setting Acceptable Daily Intakes (ADIs) and to develop Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) when veterinary drugs are used in accordance with good veterinary practice (WTO, 1997, p. 181).Despite its nonbinding character, the panel took the Codex recommendation asthe international standard from which the EU ruling could only deviate on sci-entifically justified grounds. For the EU experts, however, deviating from Codexrecommendations was justified because, in the past, drug abuse had occurredand good veterinary practice could not necessarily be assumed.Conclusive EvidenceThe EU scientists had submitted the hypothesis of a “potential genotoxicity ofhormones” based on tests carried out with elevated doses of oestrogen (WTO,1997, p. 202). However, data on genotoxicity at low levels (roughly equivalentto the levels expected in meat) were not available at this point. The panel dis-missed the claim because the EU scientists did not provide conclusive evidence“(…) that an identifiable risk arises from the use of any of the hormones at issuefor growth promotion purposes in accordance with good practice” (WTO,1997, p. 205). It should be noted that for the hormone melengestral acetate(MGA) an “almost complete absence of evidence” in the panel proceedings wasobserved. However, this lack of evidence did not mean that no scientific studieswere available. Rather, two of the appellees, the USA and Canada, “declined tosubmit any assessment of MGA upon the ground that the material they wereaware of was proprietary and confidential in nature” (WTO, 1998, p. 78f.).
Scientists as Expert Advisors: Science Cultures Versus National Cultures? 19Precautionary PrincipleThe EU claimed that the application of the “precautionary principle,” as a gen-eral customary rule in European environmental policymaking, places “the attain-ment of a high level of consumer protection before the commercial interests offarmers and pharmaceutical companies” (WTO, 1997, p. 86). Moreover, thecustomary application of the precautionary principle affects, not only politicaldecision making, but even the scientific assessment of risks (WTO, 1998, p. 7).The panel concluded, nevertheless, that although governments may act from aperspective of prudence and precaution, the precautionary principle does notoverride the provisions of the respective agreements under the WTO (1998,p. 46).Summary of Case Study IICasting aside for the moment the legalized setting in which the dispute tookplace, the case study outlined above, to a large extent, mirrors the key aspects ofthe case study on sewage sludge regulation. First, it again shows the differingusage of scientific expertise in the regulatory process. From a US point of view,scientific expertise should not be influenced by political considerations andjudgments should strictly adhere to scientific principles. The European experts,on the other hand, having experienced the difficulty of enforcing “good veteri-nary practice,” were led to opt for much larger safety margins than their NorthAmerican colleagues. The opposing viewpoints are reinforced by differing normative standards.For the appellees’ (USA, etc.) scientists, the absence of evidence of harm is suffi-cient to justify lenient standards or no regulatory action. For the appellants, ex-perts’ positive evidence of no harm occurring is required to legitimize lenient orno regulatory intervention. Last, but not least, the approach by the EU scientistswas consistent with the overall regulatory framework provided by the MaastrichtTreaty with its emphasis on the precautionary principle as a yardstick for policy-making. A formalized risk assessment of the kind required by the GATT/WTO
20 Horst Rakelagreements, therefore, would very likely not change the European evaluation ofthe issue, as the fundamental preconditions for regulatory (in)action would stillnot be met. Table 4 summarizes the key positions of the opposing parties duringthe WTO dispute settlement process. A Synthesis of Multiple Perspectives on Regulatory Decision Making In the wake of globalization, previously autonomous areas of society are increas- ingly exposed to outside influences. The level and degree of regulation in the areas of environmental protection and public health are closely linked to the questions of legitimacy, sovereignty, and democratic decision making. Within the EU, the concept of subsidiarity was introduced to ensure that regulatory de- cision making is located at the most appropriate level. Whether this objective has been met cannot be discussed here, but its mere provision illustrates the desire of the involved regions and nation states not to be left at the mercy of an overbur-dening and remote bureaucracy. Yet, the mechanisms of international trade mayreplace the asserted local authority with an even more remote and non-transpar-ent decision-making structure. Naturally, local environmental and public health regulation can turn out tobe a stumbling block for the unrestricted flow of goods and services betweentrading blocks (incidentally, sewage sludge regulation may lead to grain exportrestrictions between the USA and the EU). As the WTO agreements indicate,the hope is that science provides the “objective” yardstick that is necessary toharmonize differing standards. This hope is, at best, naive. The probabilistic sci-entific findings in the area of environmental and public health risks cannot pro-vide the desired “yes” or “no” answers. Cultural biases, political convictions, and(personal) world-views enter not only the interpretation of scientific evidence,but influence even the generation of scientific insights (in the case of the sewagesludge regulation, pot studies vs. field studies, or MEI vs. HEI), and the selec-tion of evidence (earthworm vs. soil microbes), thus, having a massive bearingon the shape of the final regulation. The two case studies are, in various aspects, consistent with the notion of“epistemic community.” Epistemic communities espouse certain notions of va-lidity and certain causal beliefs and, perhaps most importantly, they pursue acommon policy enterprise, which may also be described as the “mission” of therespective epistemic community. However, and different from Haas’ (1992)original proposal, in the two presented case studies membership in the respectiveepistemic communities was strongly dependent on cultural affiliation, and na-tional background, in particular. In the case study on sewage sludge regulation,research results generated by members of each epistemic community (NorthernAmerican/European) were known and available to all. The members of the twocommunities even attended the same conferences. So, professional training andscientific knowledge were perhaps as comparable as possible, taking into account
Scientists as Expert Advisors: Science Cultures Versus National Cultures? 21 the different (national) educational systems involved. Given this shared knowl- edge base, the differences in the proposed safety levels are striking. Two main factors appear to be responsible for this marked divergence of standards: the value basis shaped by cultural affiliation of the involved scientists and/or the reg- ulatory process. In both case studies, the European experts felt a strong obligation to adhere to the precautionary principle. By contrast, in the USA, acceptable environmen- tal change and cost-effectiveness provide a legitimatory basis for much more lenient standards. Differences in the regulatory process concern the timing of ex- pert input. In Europe, in both case studies, the major expert input occurred prior to drafting the legislation. In the USA, at least in the sewage sludge case, the im- portant expert intervention took place after the regulatory agency had issued the first draft. Although this pattern is generally reflected in the literature, the actual relevance of expert consultation prior to, or after issuing the draft legislation has not been fully explored. Thus, the question is not whether “value interference”occurs during expert consultation, but rather when and how. Within the contextof this chapter, it appears that under an adversarial mode of rule making expertsare held to locating their policy choices upstream in the epistemological process.Under a consensual mode, a certain degree of political sensitivity on the part ofthe expert is tolerated, if not expected. From a regulatory science perspective it is, thus, evident that expert advice inpolicymaking needs to be viewed and interpreted within the political context itoccurs. Problems arise when (national) regulatory standards are placed and eval-uated outside their frame of reference. This holds particularly true if the evalua-tor(s) is/are unaware of their own culturally preconditioned biases when puttinginto question the validity and legitimacy of the “deviating” expert community. Itis universally accepted that challenges to claims of validity are a fundamental andintegral part of the scientific endeavor. However, as the discussion at theSchloeßmann workshop in November 1998 has suggested, the role of the scien-tist should, perhaps, be separated from the role of the expert. When scientists actas policy advisors or regulatory scientists, they are invariably entering a politi-cized sphere. Thus, separating environmental regulation into “science-based”and “policy-based” approaches (as the EPA argues, perhaps in an attempt to pre-empt potential criticism; EPA, 1995, p. iii) appears to be more driven by politi-cal rhetoric, than by a profound appreciation of the issue at hand. ConclusionWhen regulating identical environmental and public health risks the USA andthe EU arrive at considerably different conclusions. In the presented case studiesthe standards developed are largely a result of scientists providing expert advicefor policymaking. The interesting finding is that the actual knowledge base, therespective experts drew upon, was not contested. The different expert communi-ties were rather separated by the interpretation of the available scientific evi-
22 Horst Rakel dence. The interpretation of scientific evidence for policy advice is, to a large de- gree, influenced by shared values within the respective epistemic community, cultural factors, and, quite possibly, political interests. The epistemic community formation is a useful theoretical approach for ana- lyzing environmental and public health standard setting. However, since the epistemic community approach was developed within the context of interna- tional policy coordination, it has not adequately addressed the issues of regula- tory science and cultural contingencies in decision making about risks. From a regulatory science point of view, on the other hand, we have to realize that the focus of most of the current inquiries into the standard setting process has been too narrowly defined. While we still debate standard setting as a national prerog- ative in countries, such as Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the USA, just to name a few, globalization moves on. We should wake up to the fact that important regulatory decisions are made on the international level, under a com- pletely different set of rules and perhaps employing a different epistemic ap- proach than we have been used to so far. Therefore, it seems more than timely toglobalize the scope and analytical framework of the regulatory science approach. Environmental and public health standards are a reflection of the cultural and social context in which they occur. This applies, not just to the regulatory process, but also to the culturally bounded interpretation of probabilistic scien- tific evidence. However, because of the globalization of markets and interna- tional trade agreements an increasing number of standards and regulations areset by international bodies or organizations. These new regulatory systems arenot yet subject to the same checks and balances as it is a characteristic of the na-tional systems. There is an urgent need to investigate decision making on an in-ternational level and, in particular, the roles of expert advisory committees in theregulatory process. It is necessary to expand these studies beyond issues, such asozone depletion and global warming. Although less visible in the media, foodsafety or product safety standards affect a large number of people and have hugeeconomical and financial implications. Taken together, this then raises the question of the future role of the expert,in particular the scientist, in a globalized economy and the respective globalizedinstitutions. Is their role to provide purely “scientific” input regardless of politi-cal implications? How can science input into policymaking be “objective” if theevidence itself is open to interpretation? Perhaps somewhat contrary to the tradi-tional view on science and scientists, it might still be early days in the formationof a global science culture. ReferencesAdler, E., & Haas, P. M. (1992). Conclusion: Epistemic communities, world order, and the cre- ation of a reflective research program. International Organization, 46(1), 367–390.Adorno, T. W., Dahrendorf, R., Pilot, H., Albert, H., Habermas, J., & Popper, K. R. (1972). Der Positivismusstreit in der deutschen Soziologie. Darmstadt, Germany: Luchterhand.
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Chapter 2 Experts’ Discourses as Judicial Drama or Bureaucratic Coordination: Family Debate in the United States and Germany Wolfgang Walter Institute for Sociology, University of Freiburg, Germany firstname.lastname@example.org This study deals with the influence of experts in political counseling. It analyzes a comparative case study in the field of family policy. The starting point is a striking difference in the approaches adopted since 1980 in American and Ger- man policies for families, children, and their welfare. In the US, the obligations of (absent) fathers to financially support their fam- ilies has been vigorously enforced, as have work requirements for single mothers;welfare benefits as lifelong entitlements have been abolished on the federal level,and the respective programs of the individual states have been substantially cur-tailed. Moreover, highly critical pronouncements on so-called “unconventionalfamily forms” such as single-parent, divorced, or step-families, as well as on themoral situation of American youth, presumably caused by these conditions, havebecome widespread. In Germany,1 families have been gradually relieved of the costs of raisingchildren; parents (i.e., in most cases mothers) can take parental leave for up tothree years (with modest financial support), and family members responsible forthe care of frail elderly relatives have been granted support by care-provision in-surance programs. The public debate has treated families as being rather similar;the distinction between “conventional” and “unconventional” families is less im-portant than that between families and “non-families,” that is, persons or house-holds without children or other dependents. Likewise, the problems attributedto families have been located not in the moral, but rather in the financial sphere. 1 For the period prior to German unification in 1990, the term “Germany” used in this paperrefers to West Germany, that is, the Federal Republic of Germany; for the period after 1990, to thegeographical unit bearing the same name that combines former West and East Germany. For sev-eral reasons, unification has led to continuity rather than discontinuity in the dominant publicviews and the state’s policies on the family under the auspices of the West German model (e.g.,Gerlach, 1996, p. 121ff., p. 165ff.; Kaufmann, 1990, 1995). 27
28 Wolfgang Walter I will argue in this chapter that these differences can be attributed to the in-stitutional resources, strategies, and world-views of the experts who shape thepublic debate on the family in the two countries. I will try to show that two setsof factors, the organization of the field of experts and their strategies, account forthe characteristics of the debate on family issues and the resulting policies. Refer-ring to a well-established distinction found in comparative legal studies, I willdenote the difference between experts’ discourses in the US and Germany withthe terms “adversarial model” and “inquisitorial model.” In the first section (Experts as Advisors), I review older approaches on the uti-lization of the social sciences with regard to my own research strategy. In the sec-ond section (Experts and Policy Change: A Comparative Case Study), I provide anoverview of family debate and family-policy developments in each country, toexplain the different paths of policy development arising from the specific link-age between the institutionalization of expertise and experts’ strategies—adver-sarial and inquisitorial. In the third section (Methodological Issues in the Study ofExperts), I analyze three aspects of the account: the societal embeddedness of ex-perts’ discourses, the rhetorical content of texts, and the self-reports of experts.My concluding remarks relate the case study to my broader theme, that is, thesociology of experts. Experts as AdvisorsThe Utilization of Social ScienceThe role of experts in the scientific counseling of policymakers has been studiedfor a long time with—it seems—largely inconclusive results. In this chapter, Iwill deal mainly with policy experts drawn from the social sciences. Even thoughmy analysis is restricted to this subject, there are still questions regarding the ex-tent of such experts’ influence and their impact on policies, and the policy-maker’s reception or rejection of advice. Part of the problem is that the two mainanalytical frameworks, the “dual model” and the “conceptualizing utilization”model, result in conflicting interpretations and unanswered questions.The Dual Model and the Study of Scientific CounselingThe “dual model” (Mayntz, 1994, p. 12), a framework which was in use fromthe post-World War II era until the late 1970s, assumes that polity and scienceare two distinct institutions, each with its own rationality. Whereas the polity isa sphere where maximizing societal power is a main goal, science aims at maxi-mizing knowledge. The results of the scientific counseling of policymakers wereseen either as Enlightenment, through which scientific rationality was to be trans-formed into political practice, or technocracy, through which political power andscientific expertise would create a powerful coalition to suppress the democraticprocess (Habermas, 1978).
Family Debate in the United States and Germany 29 Polity and science were portrayed in a rather systematic way, which made theconclusions (“Enlightenment” vs. “technocracy”) plausible and fruitful for empiricalstudies. But, it was virtually impossible to confirm the presumed effects in either di-rection. Empirical evidence was interpreted as showing the irrelevance of the socialsciences for the political process (Wingens, 1988). The problem lies in the assump-tion underlying the dual model, namely, that the political and scientific spheres havedistinct forms of rationality, criteria of validity, and ideals of efficiency. Because thepolity is a system of actors exercising power to gain societal control, it needsscientific expertise, but at the same time, it is unable to work with it adequately. Thesame is true in the other direction; science may imply a certain “mission” to en-lighten policymakers, but cannot be translated into power-oriented action.Conceptualizing UtilizationOut of the disappointment with the older approach, grew a new one, based onCarol H. Weiss’s (1983, 1991) insight that the main function of social scientificknowledge is of a conceptualizing nature, so that political discourse is framed byscientific terminology. What influences policy and gives it a more realistic andreliable foundation is not ideas or data, but rather semantics as a link betweenthe scientific and political discourses. In its departure from the assumptions of the dual model, this approach fo-cused on the process of utilizing scientific conclusions in political communica-tion. This idea was fruitful in further research, but it deliberately abandoned thequestion posed by the older approach, namely, how actors in different socialspheres (politics and science) influence each other. Specifically, the utilizationapproach had three characteristics: Instead of reconstructing the interaction of scientists and policymakers, utili- zation research aimed at describing the osmosis of concepts between the two spheres. The study of utilization lost empirical depth by proposing a general model of scientific expertise whose main feature was its conceptualizing use by political actors. The conceptualization approach was not interested in actors, replacing agents with anonymous processes of knowledge dissemination.An Alternative Research StrategyThe study of scientific counseling and its utilization seems to be torn betweenthe alternatives of a philosophically profound, but empirically unacceptable ap-proach and a simpler model that provides more empirical evidence, but at thecost of neglecting many relevant aspects. There are two sources that serve as astarting point for a new approach to the study of the role of scientific expertise inthe polity. The first is a theoretical, macro-sociological perspective, associatedwith the notion of a “knowledge society”; the second stems from the construc-tionist study of social problems.
30 Wolfgang WalterThe Knowledge SocietyThe concept of the “knowledge society” is derived from theories of so-called“post-industrial” society. The main claim of this approach is that knowledge hasbecome an integral part of the institutional structure of modern societies (Stehr,1992). In modern times, different types of scientific knowledge play an increas-ingly important role in the economy. There are natural science-based industriessuch as the chemical industry, where knowledge has become a major productiveforce. There are also sectors of the service economy that depend more and moreon social scientific knowledge, such as marketing and personal services, as well asprofessions such as social work or therapy that are almost exclusively based on it.Moreover, social scientific knowledge has become a means of social control andpolicymaking with the expanded use of official statistics, social reporting, andscientific advisory capacity vis-à-vis the State, which Giddens (1990) has sum-marized under the notion of “surveillance.” Many theorists of the “knowledgesociety” see, in this process, the rise of a new societal class of experts and advisorswho play a central role in social change (either furthering or impeding it) by “de-fining die situation,” that is, by constructing “social problems” and giving adviceon possible solutions (Stehr, 1992). Access to knowledge and the ability to use it is becoming a major resource.This is leading to the development of specialized roles for “knowledge workers,”professionals, advisors, and the like. As a consequence, the “knowledge society”is developing a genuine form of social stratification in addition to the class struc-ture of the industrial society. Bourdieu (1976) analyzes the social structure of ex-perts with his general concept of a “field,” seen as an ordered set of social posi-tions and cultural goods. Experts are equipped with social, economic, and cul-tural capital, that is, networks, financial means, and educational backgrounds.This set of resources is unequally distributed in the social space where expertiseis provided and obtained. The main cultural goods at stake in the fields of experts are contested ideas.Experts use their resources (academic titles, reputations, access to financialmeans, media, rhetorical skills, etc.) to compete for hegemony in their field, thatis, for public acceptance of their ideas, as opposed to those of their competitors.This model is mainly derived from Max Weber’s sociology of religion (Bourdieu,1971a, 1971b); like religious leaders, experts compete for the acceptance of theirproposals by the lay public. Groups of experts form antagonistic camps commit-ted to the advancement and defense of “orthodoxy” versus “heterodoxy,” relyingon their resources and claims to hegemony in matters of ethical principles andsocial norms.The Construction of Social ProblemsThe second set of ideas used in revising the conventional paradigms on scientificcounseling stems from the qualitative analysis of social problem construction.The link between this approach and the considerations mentioned above lies inthe definition of the expert as a strategic player who attempts to convince othersof their views on issues. The constructionist approach to social problems