Professional policy work in federal states: Institutional autonomy and Canadian policy analysis

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Despite all the attention paid to the topic of policy analysis, the actual work of policy analysts in government is little investigated and little known (Colebatch 2005, 2006a, 2006b; Colebatch and Radin 2006). This is true not only at the national level, which has been the subject of most existing studies, but especially at the sub-national level, where substantial powers rest. In order to address this gap, this article presents evidence from the first, large-scale set of surveys of Canadian federal, provincial and territorial policy analysts, examining the similarities and differences in their policy work. While many similarities exist in areas related to overall governance trends, such as consultation and participation work overtaking more technical policy evaluations, there are significant differences in the nature of policy work and attitudes, which are linked to the lesser autonomy from political masters experienced by sub-national analysts. The results suggest that sub-national policy work must be studied carefully in its own right.

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© 2012 The Institute of Public Administration of Canada/L’Institut d’administration publique du Canada. Publisher's version of record:

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Canadian Public Administration