Call for feedback and input on longterm policy book proposal
Konrad Seifert and I are writing “a field guide to place future generations at the core of policy-making”. To make it maximally relevant to the EA community, please, ask us related questions, share criticism and give feedback on the current version of the book proposal.
Let us know your thoughts, questions and feedback in the comments or via email firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 July 2020. Thank you in advance!
Read the full proposal here (~2700 words). Or get a quick overview below:
Longtermist scholarship still needs to translate its ideas into policy change to achieve large-scale impact. Our book has two goals:
Foster coordination and alignment among longtermist policy practitioners by equipping them with (1) models to understand policy-systems; (2) tactics to engage in policy-making; (3) strategies to improve political decision-making; and (4) an agenda for further research.
Provide evidence-based advice for robustly beneficial policy engagement by combining insights from senior practitioners with the research on social and behavioural processes of policy-making.
The target audience consists of policy practitioners, inside and outside of government, and scholars of the policy process.
Semi-systematic literature reviews; and
Over 30 interviews with senior practitioners and researchers.
Longterm Political Decision-making: A Field Guide to Place Future Generations at the Core of Policy-making
Human civilization faces risks, such as large scale pandemics and climate change, which likely have harmful consequences for future generations, ranging from complete extinction to curtailed potential. For civilization to survive and flourish, political institutions play an important role in building resilient systems through large-scale coordinated action. Yet, future generations are currently neglected in policy-making due to historical path-dependencies and practical difficulties. This book builds on forty years of research developing policy mechanisms to represent future generations. Specifically, the book fills a gap between research and action by providing guidance on (1) understanding policy systems; (2) beneficially engaging in policy-making; and (3) designing strategies to strengthen decision-making. Geared towards policy-makers and academics, the book provides directions for further research and practice.
Table of content
Chapter 1: A rationale for longtermist political decision-making
What is longtermism?
Why are political institutions key to safeguard future generations?
Why are current political institutions short-termist?
Policy problems, solutions and institutional mechanisms for making policy-making longtermist
What is needed to convert ideas into policy change?
Chapter 2: Understanding the reality of policy-making
Definitions and illustrations
What is policy?
What is policy-making?
What is governance?
What are political institutions?
What is political decision-making?
Understanding policy-making as a system
System’s moving parts
Mechanisms of policy change
What do we know about the dynamics of policy change?
How do collective decisions emerge from the interactions of moving parts?
How do individuals, groups and institutions learn over time?
Levers to influence policy-making
Influence the information supply
Shape information processing
Change network structures
Change system rules
Chapter 3: Engaging in policy-making: evidence from advocacy, lobbying and epistemic communities
What can we learn from the literature on influencing policy-making?
Definitions of and differences between advocacy, lobbying and epistemic communities
Impact pathways for influencing policy-making
Enabling conditions to instrumentalise impact pathways
The importance of networks
The importance of framing
Remarks on evidence-based advocacy
Monitoring evaluation and learning
A framework to robustly engage in policy-making
Define the context: the fit between entry points and what to advocate for
Understand policy processes and contexts
Choose a coordinated, insider, collaborative and multi-level strategy
Network network, frame frame
Cultivate pragmatism to hedge against idealism
Preserve, adjust and sustain
Chapter 4: A quasi-systematic review of four strategies to strengthen political decision-making
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who guards the guardians themselves?
Four strategies to strengthen political decision-making
Multi-criteria decision analyses
Search and review results
Strength of evidence
Strategy expected impact
Chapter 5: An agenda for research and practice for making policy-making longterm
Convergence of theories
Moving from static theories to computational models
Exploring foundational laws of policy-making systems