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Is impact assessment democratic? Public policymaking tensions explored

Opening lecture of the Academic Year 2014/15 by Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale University

The European Commission has been pushing member states to engage in impact assessment (IA) when they make policy. The commission itself carries out such assessments and has an Impact Assessment Board that reviews them. But just what is IA, and is it compatible with democratic values? Sometimes it is defended as a version of cost/benefit analysis, that is, a technique derived from Utilitarianism and widely studied in schools of public policy. At other times it is described as merely an exhortation to think functionally and systematically about policy. The lecture discussed alternative views of IA and the tensions between IA and accountable, representative democracy.

Helmut K. Anheier
Susan Rose-Ackerman

Opening lecture by:

Susan Rose-Ackerman, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence (Law and Political Science), Yale University.