Journal Article

Epistemic communities and two goals of delegation: hormone growth promoters in the European Union

Claire A Dunlop

in Science and Public Policy

Volume 37, issue 3, pages 205-217
Published in print April 2010 | ISSN: 0302-3427
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1471-5430 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.3152/030234210X497681
Epistemic communities and two goals of delegation: hormone growth promoters in the European Union

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The delegation literature tells us that decision-makers delegate power to agents to achieve efficiency or credibility (or both). Critically, however, the successful delivery of each of these implies very different levels of control over their agent by the principal. This paper deploys principal-agent modelling to explore how this logic works with epistemic agents. It explores the implications of two epistemic communities' contrasting de facto independence from European Commission decision-makers for the delegation goals satisfied in formulating policy on hormone growth promoters. Analysis supported the view that to deliver policy efficiency an epistemic community must have low autonomy from the political principal. Policy credibility was achieved when decision-makers selected an epistemic community whose views were socially legitimate.

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Subjects: History of Science and Technology ; Innovation ; Technological Change; Research and Development ; Public Policy

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