Theories and concepts developed and empirically tested in the context of North American and Western European countries do not always easily transfer to another political landscape. The concept of “policy advisory system” is not an exception. On the one hand, policy processes and policy styles are not unique for each country; therefore, some generalizations can be made. On the other hand, studding particularities of policy process in a specific country can enrich theories, developed for general cases. Applying existing theories to a new context also goes a long way in verification and potential falsification – the fundamental requirement for a scientific process. This article aims to contribute to the debate on the topic of policy advisory system by comparing the development of three policies in Russia, each involving policy advisors to some extent. Based on this analysis, lessons are drawn regarding the conditions under which policy advisors can impact policy changes in an environment, alternative to “western.”
Since 1978, the Rohingya have been fleeing Myanmar and taking refuge in Bangladesh. The state of Bangladesh is not a signatory to the Geneva Convention and does not recognize refugee rights, but the initial experiences with the Rohingya refugee population led the government to create a temporary and ad hoc domestic policy advisory and refugee management system, which eventually became highly politicized. There was also some degree of slow “externalization” of policy advice through the involvement of international organizations from 2006–2007 onward, mainly through the participation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM). Over 2017–2018, there was a massive influx of refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh. The domestic advisory and refugee management system lacked the capacity to manage the crisis and had to quickly and greatly externalize policy advice and refugee management. The UNHCR and IOM came in with a host of international organizational networks and coordinated with each other and the state through a multi-sectoral approach to managing the crisis. This externalization led to the systematization and institutionalization of the state’s domestic advisory system. However the effect of externalization on politicization is equivocal; on the one hand it decreased politicization of the domestic policy advisory system, but on the other hand, it created new levels of politicization.
There has been a call for a “second wave” of scholarship on policy advice to expand our understanding of the relational dynamics within a policy advisory system (PAS). In this article, we use a case from Brazil to address two key gaps in the PAS literature – the lack of attention to understand policy advice through the lens of network governance and the current predominance of “Westminster” empirical cases. To better understand the impact of policy advice within a system of networked governance, we apply the frame of “metagovernance” – the steering of governance networks. We then introduce and employ the concepts of funnelling, political brokering and gate-keeping to better understand how policy advice is shaped, modified and then either rejected or accepted. The contribution of the article is that, while much of the existing PAS literature describes the contours and key actors within an advisory system, we develop new conceptual scaffolding to better understand the trajectories and impact of policy advice, and the interplay between actors and agents, within a broader system of metagovernance.
This paper examines the contemporary urban transport policies, and the policy advisory practices that shape then, in the capitals of the two largest authoritarian countries in the world: Moscow in Russia and Beijing in China. Policy advice has generally been analysed in the Westminster government system countries and part of the EU, where there is greater transparency and more pluralistic political systems, however, transport policies provide a window into better understanding of how policy advice could work in authoritarian environment, because this sphere is a less politically sensetive. Authoritarian decision-making is generally concealed from public view, so to avoid speculation this this paper examines policies that are relevant for both cities and their respective regimes: the problem of urban transport policy in a large megapolis. Moscow and Beijing as capitals can be considered good cases for comparison, because of significant public attention to the quality and results of transport policy implementation
This study contributes to debate on three related questions in Policy Advisory System research. Is the Policy Advisory System concept applicable in countries other than developed democracies? How does it function in a state-centred authoritarian regime? How does the authoritarian environment affect tendencies such as “politicization” and “externalization”? These questions are addressed using materials on the current Russian governance structure and advisory practices, focusing on two broadly defined “governance subsystems” in the Presidential Administration of Russia, “Political Bloc” and “Economic Bloc”, both acting as regular customers for advisory communities. One finding is the phenomenon of “Dual Demand” from the same centre of power—“stability” for “Political Bloc” and “innovation” for “Economic Bloc”—which contributed to creation of two different clusters of policy advisory agencies with different statuses. Other findings include transformation of “politicization” to policy control mechanisms and attempted “externalization” turning into the reverse—“internalization”—bringing independent advisory organizations under the supervision of government structures.