Evidence based policy in Romania LAVINIA ANDREI PHD CANDIDATE UNIVERSITY OF BUCHAREST ROMANIA MAY 2011
• We can easily see now that the interaction between the research community and the policy makers is problematic. Being based in a “defensive insecurity” (academics insecure about the crisis of theory, practitioners insecure about the failure of practice) each manifests almost contempt to the other (Minogue, Martin “Theory and Practice in Public Policy and Administration”).• As a result, decision makers tend to rely on other criteria when formulating policies. “Research has only a limited role in governance because these policies are driven more by ideology, economic theory, and political expediency than by the need to improve effectiveness” (Black, 2001)• Richard Lee – “tumultuos marriage in which the rules of conjugality were never fully established or agreed to by both parties”
Lisel O’Dwyer’s classification of policy fields. He says that there are broadly three types of policy fields which make different uses of evidence and research:Stable policy fields (areas where knowledge is reasonably settled; theoretical foundations are strong; governments broadly know what works; there is a strong evidence base and incremental improvement).Policy fields in flux (where the knowledge base is contested and there is disagreement over the most basic theoretical approaches).Inherently novel policy fields (the newness means there is no pre existing evidence base, e.g. regulation of biotechnology; privacy on the net)
Two distinct approaches regarding social research and policy: Max Weber and Robert Merton – science as truth – the principal of axiological neutrality Antonio Gramsci and Karl Manheim – critical thinking and problem-building theories Applied social science relies on researchers to be neutral and professional, nevertheless, it takes more than good science to make policy
The Policy Process in Romania• Up to 2005 there was not a clear legislative framework that introduced the concept of public policy in Romania;• State intervention was exclusively normative, and this generally continues to be the case nowadays;• Nevertheless there were some sectors (e.g. the energy sector, the chemical industry sector) that the state has always had a big influence and the policy process was and still is quite structured.
Policy in the legislationGovernment Decision no. 775/ 14.07.2005Approving of rules regarding public policy drafting,monitoring and evaluation at central levelGovernment Decision no. 750/ 14.07.2005Setting up inter-ministry permanent committees forstrategy and policy makingPlenty of legislation followed setting up the planningand implementation of public policies in Romania
Policy in the legislation (2)Starting from 2009, the policy making processchanged dramatically due to one apparently minorlegislative change – the GD no. 561/2009No impact analysis or evidence was requiredanymore – official reason – legislative expediency;The huge efforts to separate policy making from thelegislative process were annulled.
Policy makers in RomaniaMore than two thirds of the members of the Romanian Government since 1989 hold at least a postgraduate degree.By the year 2000, national degrees became obsolete and Romanian officials started getting international training certificates. Thus 45,6% of the ministers in the Nastase Cabinet, and 64,15% of the following cabinet (Tariceanu Cabinet) hold an international degree, most commonly a short term training certificate.1/3 of all the ministers in Romania hold a PhD and a quarter of them are either professors or researchers.Ionascu, Alexandra Les elites politiques en Roumanie postcommuniste 1990-2008. Le voies d’acces au pouvoir executif, Studia Politica, vol XI, no.1, 2011, pp 27-51
Policy makers in Romania (2)Another study of the ways that political elites are recruited in Romania, revealed that:Around 30% of the MPs were ready to leave the Parliament for another office. “People run for the parliament when they do not have better options, but leave as soon as better opportunities arise. And, even if these opportunities do not arise, those who long for other types of offices will mostly disregard their parliamentary responsibilities” (Stefan 2006:215).What offices do they have in mind and why? As the study suggests, the paths envisaged by the MPs span from district council president, ministers and secretaries of state, head of governmental agencies, mayors or prefects, and even ambassadors. To conclude, “parliamentary mandates are clearly not top of the hierarchy” of possible offices (Stefan, 2006:204)
Policy makers in Romania (3)A report of the Institute for Public Policy, Bucharest entitled “Pe cine am ales „uninominal”? Profil parlamentar 2008 faţă de 2004” (Whom did we elect uni-nominally? Parliamentary profiles in 2008 compared to 2004) disclosed the following analysis regarding education background of the Romanian MPs:All Senators have a university degree in the present legislature. 40% of them hold a PhD and 37% have other graduate level degree, totaling 77% of the total holding at least a master degree. Most of them are specialized in law and economics (20% each) and around 18% hold a degree in sciences. Only 10 senators hold a humanities degree.The Deputies hold in a 42 percentage a PhD and 54% of them hold a bachelor or a master’s degree. Only 3 of the MP in the Deputies Chamber have only a Secondary School Degree. Adrian Moraru, Elena Iorga, 2009, “Pe cine am ales „uninominal”? Profil parlamentar 2008 faţă de 2004” Institutul pentru POlitici Publice, Bucuresti, disponibil la http://www.ipp.ro/pagini/pe-cine-am-ales- uninominal-profil-p-1.php
Policy makers in the regionA study regarding the professional background of new parliamentarians in East Germany (Jahr, 2003) comes up with a few interesting ideas:On one hand, more than 80% of the MPs at state and land level hold an university degree, and nearly 30% hold a PhD. As opposed to the Romanian data, most of the occupations are scientifical-technical while “lawyers and those with a degree in humanities or social sciences were only weekly represented” (Jahr, 2003:13-14).Teachers and professors represent around 12-13% of the MPs.Despite higher numbers of teachers and academics, and significantly more social scientists in the Romanian Parliament as compared with the German figures, we can assume it has no impact on increasing familiarity or use of policy research, on the contrary.In the Czech parliament seems to have witnessed a process of professionalization. With each legislature, the number of outsiders decreased, and the perceived ties with the constituency and citizens in general diminished. While in 1992 many representatives of the scientific and academic sphere were elected to the Parliament, in 2003 more than half of the deputies are recruited from top political positions
Source: Stefan ,Pathways to Cabinet: Selecting Ministers in Post-Communist Romania, 2009:19
Source: Stefan, Pathways to Cabinet: Selecting Ministers in Post-Communist Romania,
Policy makers in RomaniaAlthough there are hints to believe that the policymakers pursued academic careers while in office,there is no statistical data to support this.The great majority of policy makers seems to bewell instructed, well acquainted to academicresearch.Why don’t they trust social research?
Researchers in Romania• In Romania, research development and innovation cover 50 fields of study and have a relatively steady evolution according to the National Council for Higher Education Funding (CNFIS, 2007). The major part of the research (60%) is public. Data from 2006 showed that Romania had 3.13 researchers per 1000 employed inhabitants, two times less that the corresponding EU15 figures.• As far as the chief research funding schemes are concerned, they are usually addressed to all public research institutions (we have inherited from our communist past a large number of non- university research institutes [100+], some half of which are affiliated with the Romanian Academy of Sciences).• The public expenditures for research are quite low (the .31% GDP), and have fluctuated dramatically over the past decade. Funding has been unpredictable peaking in 2007 to .5% of GDP after a steep increase between 2006 and 2007 of nearly 50%.
Research questions How does the policy process work in Romania? Why isn’t social science used more in the policy process? How could evidence based policy work in Romania?Method used: Semi-structured interviews with policy makers, policy analysts and researchers (15 interviews up till now)
Some preliminary results from the interviewsMuch of the talk regarding policy is related to thecorrectness of public spending;Time is an important issue for policy makers, andresearch does not seem to be able to delivernecessary information – nevertheless, policy makersagree that usually policy decisions are postponed;“I know social science, I myself hold a PhD ineconomics . Unfortunately that kind of research isnot useful to us. They are too slow” (Secretary ofState)
Some preliminary results from the interviews (2) “Although I would like to use more research findings in my work, I do not usually find the data available trustworthy enough. They have to work on their credibility” (SME financing and competition policy expert) “There is no pressure from the electorate to fundament policy decisions.” (policy expert) “Policy makers always want us to find what they were already looking for…” (researcher)
Some preliminary results from the interviews (3)“There is no stable financial stream to support policyresearch in Romania. When research iscommissioned after all, it is generally a gift for afriend” (senior researcher)“There has been a strong push from theinternational organizations such as the UN, WorldBank and nowadays the IMF towards evidence basedpolicy. They led to good results but they were notsustainable. Romanian policy makers do not seem tobe ready to give up their supremacy.” (universityprofessor)
Conclusions1. Researchers seem to know what policy makers do and should do;2. Policy makers seem to know what researchers do and should do;3. They do not work together because they do not seem to trust each other. Moreover, there is no incentive or real responsibility to do so.
Thank you!Lavinia AndreiUniversity of BucharestM: +40731261604E: email@example.com