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e-Rulemaking, Rulemaking, Evidence-based policy making, Civic engagement, Public policy


Administrative Law | Policy History, Theory, and Methods


Policymakers today rely primarily on statistical, financial, and other forms of technical data as their basis for decision-making. Yet, there is a potentially underestimated value in substantive reflections of the members of the public who will be affected by a particular piece of regulation. We discuss the value of narratives as input in the policy making process, based on our experience with Regulation Room–a product of an interdisciplinary initiative using innovative web technologies in real-time online experimentation. We describe professional policymakers and professional commenters as a community of practice that has limited shared repertoire with the lay members of the public trying to engage with the policymaking process, which constitutes a significant barrier to participation. Based on our work with Regulation Room, we offer an initial typology of narratives–complexity, contributory context, unintended consequences, and reframing–as a first step towards overcoming conceptual barriers to effective civic engagement in policymaking.


This is a pre-publication version of this article. The published version appears in: Evidence & Policy, vol. 10, no. 2 (May 2014).