Supply and Demand for Policy Analysis

… a core concept used in Policy Analysis and Process and Atlas101

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Concept description

Michael Howlett (2015, reference below), notes that attaining a high level of policy analytical capacity requires not just a supply of qualified researchers, (and the) ready availability of quality data but also a recognized requirement or demand for research.

He writes:

“… several hypotheses are often cited in the literature pertaining to the relationship existing between higher and lower levels of policy capacity and the role played by factors such as organizational structures and management practices in encouraging or discouraging individual level analytical skills and practices. … This suggests that organizations and individuals that do not have a high demand for their research will have lower capacity, as this lack of demand is likely to negatively impact the final product and/or its use. This, in turn emphasizes the issue of the quality of the research demanded and not just its quantity. An individual’s ability to combine the use of different styles of analysis, for example, has been cited as a good indicator of analysis that is capable of being strong and versatile, adding to the organization’s overall capacity.”

“On the supply-side, agencies that undertake sophisticated analyses require both access to high quality quantifiable data or information as well as the managerial and human resource capabilities necessary to both ask for and supply this form of analysis and advice. … This is important because studies which have examined the use of sophisticated policy analytical or appraisal techniques and tools in government have noted the frequency and purposes of use hinges on several pre-conditions being met such as the presence of easily accessible and accurate data as well as a supportive work environment for highly trained and qualified employees.”

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Problem Definition and Agenda Setting (core topic) in Policy Analysis and Process and Atlas10.


Michael Howlett (2015), Policy analytical capacity: The supply and demand for policy analysis in government, Policy and Society, 34:3-4, 173-182, at, accessed 11 December 2018.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 11 December 2018.

Image: Taylor & Francis Online, at, accessed 11 December 2018.