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HomePolicy Advisory Systems in Comparative Perspective

Policy Advisory Systems in Comparative Perspective

6th International Conference on Public Policy

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Published on Thursday, January 05, 2023


The panel invites both theoretical and empirical papers on policy advisory systems (internal or external) in different political communities, systems, or regimes (both comparative as well as in-depth studies of specific national or regional systems). A comparative analysis of the Global South and North will also be welcomed.


  • 6th International Conference on Public Policy, 27th-29 June 2023, Toronto, Canada. 
  • PANEL T02P07: Policy Advisory Systems in Comparative Perspective

General objectives

Studying policy advice has shifted from examining individual professionals to examining policy advisory systems (PAS). PAS, a concept introduced by Seymour-Ure in 1987 and later elaborated and developed by John Halligan and Jonathan Craft, is central to understanding policymaking dynamics in different political communities. PAS have been useful to understand and explain how administrative and policy works are conducted in different advisory venues and how they change over time. While PAS have been defined as an "interlocking network of actors and organizations providing policymakers with recommendations" (Halligan, 1995), the use of multiple sources of policy knowledge and evidence in the policymaking process may challenge the traditional directions and meaning of the concept. As part of almost every decision-making process, governments obtain advice not only from the analysts they employ, but also from a variety of other actors, such as think tanks, lobbyists, partisan political advisors, and expert technical, legal, and scientific advisors (Craft and Howlett 2012).

In terms of comparative policy research, it is vital to accurately describe and understand these systems, as well as to consider the contents and methods for categorizing and assessing advisory system actors (MacRae and Whittington 1997). A key element of understanding these systems is the way they are structured and how they impact policy-making and the actors who can exert influence within them. Recent years have seen a revival in the literature on policy advisory systems (such as the second wave), but its empirical focus has largely been on Anglophone countries (Craft and Halligan 2016) or OECD-type developed countries of Europe (Hadorn et al. 2022; Hustedt 2019) and supply-side of policy advice (Sager et al. 2020). This panel seeks to fill this gap by focusing on the global south (Latin America, Asia, Africa) (cf. Howlett, 2019). Global South countries offer a diverse political landscape with decolonized systems, large bureaucracies, and different political regimes for empirical research.

Therefore, the panel invites both theoretical and empirical papers on policy advisory systems (internal or external) in different political communities, systems, or regimes (both comparative as well as in-depth studies of specific national or regional systems). A comparative analysis of the Global South and North will also be welcomed.


Knowledge and expertise are fundamental to understanding the policymaking process, public policies, and the roles of public administration. Policy-making can be rationalized and legitimized by transferring 'objective' knowledge, such as scientific evidence, to it. Therefore, policy advisory systems, understood as a system of multiple sources of policy advice used by governments (Halligan, 1995), play a crucial role in policymaking. The advice can be located in the public service, internal and external to government. It can also find its sources and legitimacy in communities and indigenous knowledge. It is common for each country or political community to develop authentic or mimetic types of advisory systems composed of councils, (ad hoc) commissions, research institutes, think tanks, universities, and (private) consulting firms or to an extent both traditional and non-traditional types of knowledge. There are many ways in which advisory organizations provide advice to governments, including solicited advice and unsolicited advice, thinking along with the government, or taking a highly critical approach and almost acting as a voice of external interests. There has been a significant amount of research on the promises and pitfalls of transferring knowledge to policy-making over the last few decades, and the concept of the policy advisory system has become one of the most prominent concepts for analyzing the interaction between science and policy-making. Research shows that policy advisory systems differ across political systems in many ways. Either the result of intentional reform or the product of long-term path-dependent developments, policy advisory systems vary greatly in a number of respects such as the formal organization, location, and in particular regarding their inner working mechanisms through which policy advice flows into the policy cycle – or not. So far, research on policy advisory systems mainly focuses on Anglophone countries and the supply side of policy advice. Therefore, the Global South, demand-side, and comparative analysis (national or regional systems, policy advisory systems, and policy (sub)systems) remain under-researched areas.

The panel invites proposals of theoretical or empirical nature, including case studies addressing policy advisory systems in different Global South countries. We are interested in the following research questions.

(1) - What are the multifaceted dimensions of policy advisory systems and how does the policy advice process operationalize within them?

(2a) - How does the policy advisory capability of advisory systems in different political contexts or communities affect the policy process or quality of advice?

(2b) - How can we measure the policy advisory capability of policy advisory systems especially public service?

(3)- How do policy advisory actors configure themselves in the policy-making process?

(4) - Who are the users of policy advice and why do they seek it?

We welcome papers that engage with these questions in an empirically informed manner.

Submission guidelines

Interested authors should submit their abstracts through IPPA website. Abstracts should not contain more than 500 words and give details about the paper's title, case study / studies, and methodology or theory used in the paper

not later than 30 january, 2023.

More details about this call are available on the International Public Policy Association website.

Panel Chairs and Co-chairs

  • Dr Fiaz Hussain (fiazhussain@fjwu.edu.pk)
  • Dr R. Mireille Manga Edimo, IRIC, University of Yaoundé II (manmir2001@yahoo.com)
  • Pr.  Fritz Sager, University of Bern, Switzerland 


Craft, J. & Halligan, J. (2016). Assessing 30 years of Westminster policy advisory system experience. Policy Sciences. doi:10.1007/s11077-016-9256-y.

Hadorn, S., Sager, F., Mavrot, C. et al. (2022). Evidence-Based Policymaking in Times of Acute Crisis: Comparing the Use of Scientific Knowledge in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Polit Vierteljahresschr 63, 359–382, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11615-022-00382-x  

Halligan, J. (1995). Policy Advice and the Public Sector. In Governance in a Changing Environment, edited by B. Guy Peters, and D. T. Savoie, 138–172. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Howlett, M (2019). Comparing policy advisory systems beyond the OECD: models, dynamics and the second-generation research agenda, Policy Studies, 40:3-4, 241-259, DOI: 10.1080/01442872.2018.1557626.

Hustedt, T. (2019).  Studying policy advisory systems: beyond the Westminster-bias?. Policy Studies., 40:3-4, 260-269, DOI: 10.1080/01442872.2018.1557627.

Craft, J., & Howlett, M. (2012). Policy formulation, governance shifts and policy influence: Location and content in policy advisory systems. Journal of Public Policy, 32(2), 79-98.

MacRae Jr, D., & Whittington, D. (1997). Expert advice for policy choice: Analysis and discourse. Georgetown University Press.

Sager F, Mavrot C, Hinterleitner M, Kaufmann D, Grosjean M & Stocker TF (2020) Utilization-focused scientific policy advice: a six-point checklist, Climate Policy, 20:10, 1336-1343, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1757399


  • Toronto, Canada

Event attendance modalities

Hybrid event (on site and online)


  • Monday, January 30, 2023


  • public policy, advisory system, global south, global north, comparison


  • R. Mireille MANGA EDIMO
    courriel : ruthmireille [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • R. Mireille MANGA EDIMO
    courriel : ruthmireille [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Policy Advisory Systems in Comparative Perspective », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, January 05, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1aa4

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