Computer assisted policy analysis : contributions from Germany

Eden, Colin (1978) Computer assisted policy analysis : contributions from Germany. Policy Sciences, 9 (3). pp. 345-360. ISSN 0032-2687

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Abstract

Apart from well-known highly popularized System Dynamics work/there has been little published in the field of computer-assisted policy analysis. The System Dynamics computer models, which derive from Forrester's early work on the dynamics of industrial systems, 2 have mostly been concerned not so much with policy in a directly related sense as with futurology. Their emphasis has been on tell- ing policy-makers what is going to happen and what should be done rather than pro- viding the policy-maker, as a client, with a vehicle for policy exploration. Similarly, the more respectable modelling by units such as the Science Policy Research Unit in the U.K., 3 have been mostly concerned with prescription and normative analysis. For these reasons alone the publication this year of a three volume collection of papers gathered together under the title Concepts and Tools of Computer Assisted Policy Analysis 4 is an event of some significance. This publication is significant mainly because it sees the decision-maker as central to the policy analysis activity. Additionally, the sub-titles of each of the three volumes indicate that the editor, Harmut Bossel, has made a clear attempt to relate the current and potential use of sophisticated computer technology to the context of the reality of governmental decision-making. Because of the possible significance and influence of the varied content of each of the volumes, an extended review will be presented, which will at- tempt to provide an overview of