The concept of epistemic communities is consistent with DI and MS as they have

The concept of epistemic communities is consistent

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The concept of epistemic communities is consistent with DI and MS, as they have similar epistemological and theoretical assumptions. Haas (1992, pp. 22-26) clearly
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99 identifies a social constructivist perspective. Haas (1992, p. 2) acknowledges that “systemic conditions and domestic pressures impose constraints on state behaviour, but he argues that there is still a wide degree of latitude for state action”. He recognises the importance of existing structures and institutions, while attributing agency to actors. An important notion shared by MS and epistemic communities is the assumption that decisions are made under uncertainty, which is influenced by the growing complexity and technical nature of policy issues (Haas 1992, pp. 2-16). Due to this uncertainty, policy processes are assumed to be anarchic, which is also assumed in MS. Haas argues that epistemic communities are better in explaining policy change than power related concepts, as “many of the conditions facilitating a focus on power are absent” (Haas 1992, p. 14). Leaders do not know who their allies are. Haas also argues that epistemic communities can also explain policy change when institutions are broken down by turbulence. Epistemic communities become increasingly important and influential in situations of uncertainty by helping to explain and understand these complexities to decision makers. Haas (1992, p. 15) identified four scenarios. Epistemic communities “can elucidate the cause-and-effect relationships and provide advice about the likely results of various courses of action” after a shock or crises or they can shed light on the relationship between issues from failure to act or the implementation of new policy. They can define the interests of actors or they can help in the formulation of policies. Haas argues that the lower the political motivation of actors is, the more influence epistemic communities can have on policy change, including the identification of policy alternatives. This is complementary to MS, which also focuses on the importance of the consideration of alternatives in the agenda setting process. However, MS does not
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100 consider in detail the role of collective actors in this process or how alternatives are defined. Both Haas and Kingdon view actors as satisficers with procedural bounded rationality, who are capable of learning and incorporating feedback. Haas (1992, p. 28) adopts the view that actors are conditioned and influenced by “prior beliefs and established operating procedures”, which is consistent with DI. Haas (1992, p. 16) proposes that epistemic communities “may be responsible for circumscribing the boundaries and delimit ing” alternatives up for discussion. The concept of epistemic communities shares with DI the importance of ideas in the policy process. The term ‘episteme’ refers to a shared worldview that is not necessarily shared by other actors (Haas 1992, p. 27). The investigation of epistemic communities lies in the political infiltration and institutionalisation of ideas that are based on the episteme of the communities.
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  • Fall '13
  • Government, The Land, International Financial Reporting Standards, Financial Accounting Standards Board, Australian Accounting Standards Board, Snow

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