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  5. Policy Evaluation and Social Consensus Building

2010 Vol.4
Policy Evaluation and Social Consensus Building

2010/10/01

It has been around a decade since Japanese governments (national, regional, and local) have introduced and implemented systems of policy evaluation. The policy evaluation systems, however, have not seemed to produce enough outcomes against their introducing and implementing costs, except for establishing certain levels of accountabilities by disclosing their results. At national level, new DPJ administration who took office last year just launched some politician-led initiatives of decision-making by active use of policy evaluation results, such as several types of project reviews, or setting-ups of national level policy goals, or competitive policy selection. Based on this background, this paper examines the relationship of policy evaluation, which is regarded as one of major factors of public policy design, with social consensus building. The specific question focused on is whether policy evaluation can contribute to social consensus building for policy proposals or implementation. In the context of this question, this paper discusses the possibility and ways of utilizing policy evaluation in social consensus building, organizes relevant concepts, and analyzes actual measures by different types of policy evaluation. The conclusions derived can be summarized as follows. (1) Regardless of its type, policy evaluation can be a tool for social consensus building. (2) The resource (base) for becoming tool, however, varies depending on its type. (3) The pattern of consensus building (the relationship between the passage of time and the degree of consensus) also varies for different types of policy evaluation. (4) There are significant differences in actual measures to utilize policy evaluation in social consensus building.
Lastly, this paper makes some proposals regarding desirable practical improvements in policy evaluation that will better contribute to social consensus building in public policy planning, decision-making, and implementation (besides improvements for policy evaluation systems and their operations themselves).

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