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Effects of stakeholder consultations on inputs, processes and outcomes of executive policymaking

Project description

Designing stakeholder consultations for better policymaking

Citizen consultations are used by national governments, regulatory agencies and the European Commission to design policies and formulate legislative proposals. Consultations provide a direct communication link between decision-makers and stakeholders and are considered a key part of democratic governance and better regulation reforms. Consultations take various formats and have different impacts on policymaking. We currently lack a systematic analysis of the role played by consultations in policymaking. To address this knowledge gap, the EU-funded CONSULTATIONEFFECTS project will investigate the role of stakeholder consultations in the EU at national and supranational level. A pioneering conceptualisation of consultations and an ambitious project design will help the project understand the conditions under which consultations can improve policymaking.


Consultations with stakeholders (citizens and interest organizations) are frequently used by executive bureaucracies to design policies and formulate legislation. National ministries, regulatory agencies and the European Commission employ a variety of consultation designs that combine different practices - public consultations, public hearings, workshops, expert groups, advisory committees. Consultations are key to European economic growth strategies such as the Lisbon Agenda and Europe 2020. Despite their near ubiquitous use and legitimising rhetoric, there is currently no systematic analysis assessing empirically the assumption that stakeholders’ participation in policymaking via consultations improves policymaking and results in better outcomes and more legitimate governance. This project aims to address this gap and to systematically investigate and explain the effects of stakeholder consultation designs on policy inputs, processes and outcomes of executive policymaking in 29 political systems: all 28 EU Member States and the EU polity. The project pioneers a path-breaking conceptualisation of consultation designs as representative institutions similar to electoral systems. They play a key instrumental role in the institutional balance of power and constitute a new source of bureaucratic reputation, autonomy and power. The project elaborates an original theory explaining consultation effects on policymaking that accounts for the intrinsic challenges of democratising twenty-first century bureaucracies, and the inherent trade-offs of democratic and technocratic policymaking. Empirically, the project breaks new ground by designing an ambitious data collection strategy aimed to construct an unprecedented, cross-national, comparative dataset on stakeholder consultation designs and characteristics of inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes observed at policy proposal level, across policy areas and political systems.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 424 856,00
5020 Bergen

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Norge Vestlandet Vestland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 424 856,00

Beneficiaries (1)