Models in the Policy Process:

Past, Present, and Future

by Warren Walker

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This paper examines the use of models in public sector decisionmaking through the present time and speculates upon their use in the future. It discusses the reasons why the policy applications of modeling have generally fallen short of expectations. It then discusses recent trends in performing a policy study, noting in particular an increase in the interaction between analysts and policymakers and a broadening of scope in (1) application areas, (2) the level of policymaker who is the client for the analysis, (3) the range of performance measures considered, and (4) the academic disciplines represented on the study team. Finally it foresees the confluence of several independent developments leading to a dramatic increase in the future use of models in the policy process. In particular, changes in technology, managerial procedures, and fiscal conditions are likely to lead to the widespread use of decision support systems in the public sector.

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