THE USAGE OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE IN EUROPEAN UNION LEGISLATIVE POLICY-MAKING
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As scientific knowledge is a crucial part of European Union policy-making, this study seeks to investigate how scientific knowledge is used by the European Commission in EU legislative policy-making. The underlying argument in this thesis is that the conditions and the reasons for delegating political tasks to the European Commission are the factors leading to the different usage of scientific knowledge (technical-instrumental, substantiating and legitimising). The researcher argues that the logic of delegation (efficiency vs. credibility) and the indirect control mechanisms (actors and institutions involved: third parties vs. scientists; one DG vs. several DGs) shape the usage of scientific knowledge by the European Commission. As this paper is the first attempt to test these theoretical explanations of scientific knowledge usage empirically, multiple sources of evidence (primary documents, questionnaire, and interviews) were used to increase the validity and credibility of the research. The conclusion of this study is based on data collected from a survey and face-to-face interviews with the scientists and academics who have assisted the European Commission in the preparation of a legislative proposal or policy initiative. Furthermore, the propositions about a causal relationship between the variables were tested using the most similar systems design. The study concludes that the indirect control mechanisms (fire-alarm oversights) have an effect on how scientific knowledge is used by the European Commission. The indirect control mechanisms the inclusion/exclusion of third parties or the inclusion/exclusion of competing institutional actors shape the way scientific knowledge is used in the preparation of a legislative proposal. However, the explanation based on the logic of delegation appeared not to have an effect. That is, there is no difference in how scientific knowledge is used depending on whether the principals delegate political powers to the European Commission either to reduce decision making costs or to enhance the credibility of policy commitment. Based on these conclusions the researcher of this study proposes to concentrate on the indirect control mechanisms (fire-alarm oversights) in the further research in order to provide sound evidence about the causal relationship between the indirect control mechanisms and the usage of scientific knowledge utilisation.