Social Simulation of Polycentric Policy Making: Ex Ante Assessment of Administrative Reform in the Region of Rotterdam

SIMULATION UND PLANSPIEL IN DEN SOZIALWISSENSCHAFTEN, Dietmar Herz, Andreas Blätte, eds., LIT Verlag, 2000

27 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2010

Date Written: January 1, 2000

Abstract

In recent years, the idea that public policy can be viewed as a horizontal and polycentric process (if not a series of interlocked processes) has become widely acknowledged in the field of public administration research. Still to be explored, however, are implications of this view for policy making and policy evaluation. Moreover, work in this field thus far tends to concentrate on ‘network management’ and related approaches that focus almost exclusively on relational aspects of administrative processes. Thus, not individual actors, the problems they face, or the policies they pursue are at the centre of analysis, but the relational patterns to which they belong – and findings highlight the way policy actors interact, rather than how they act. Such analyses may be accurate from a theoretical point of view, but they are unlikely to meet the needs of policy actors. This paper will show that social simulation, used as an instrument for ex ante assessment, may offer guidance – relevant, comprehensible, and doable – for actors involved in policy development and implementation, without trivializing or distorting the theoretical picture of policy as a horizontal, polycentric process that involves many different groups of actors. The paper explores the prospects of social simulation as a method for ex ante assessment of reform in public administration. For illustration, the example of the social simulation of a new town province in the region of Rotterdam is presented. After describing some major problems in this region that had to be solved by large-scale reform of administrative arrangements, we will give an overview of a social simulation that was created for the purpose of making an ex ante assessment of the outcomes of these new arrangements, especially with regard to intermunicipal cooperation. In a final section some results of the simulation are presented. These results support the argument that social simulation is able to contribute to learning effects that may enhance the quality of public administration.

Keywords: Simulation, Policy, Assessment, Municipality, Administrative change

JEL Classification: B49, C92, D74, D78, D83, H11, L32, R59

Suggested Citation

Vissers, Geert and van der Meer, Frans-Bauke, Social Simulation of Polycentric Policy Making: Ex Ante Assessment of Administrative Reform in the Region of Rotterdam (January 1, 2000). SIMULATION UND PLANSPIEL IN DEN SOZIALWISSENSCHAFTEN, Dietmar Herz, Andreas Blätte, eds., LIT Verlag, 2000, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1590567

Geert Vissers (Contact Author)

InnoTep ( email )

Enschede
Netherlands
+31 6 41118247 (Phone)

Frans-Bauke Van der Meer

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.eur.nl/fsw/staff/homepages/vandermeer/

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