Variables and Challenges in Assessing EU Experts’ Performance
Cathrine Holst and
Silje H. Tørnblad
Additional contact information
Cathrine Holst: ARENA—Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo, Norway
Silje H. Tørnblad: ARENA—Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo, Norway
Politics and Governance, 2015, vol. 3, issue 1, 166-178
Expert advice in political processes is supposed to improve decisions. If expertise fails in this function, a legitimacy problem occurs: granting political power to experts may be defensible, but only on the grounds that it contributes to enlightening political processes and facilitate problem-solving. The paper provides a theoretical exploration of four variables that are key when assessing the epistemic quality of expert deliberations: the degree to which these deliberations are 1) informed by technical expertise, 2) regulated by epistemically optimal respect and inclusion norms, 3) focused on politically relevant and applicable knowledge, and 4) approaching questions involving moral judgment and standard setting competently. Previous research on the European Commission’s use of expert advice has more or less overlooked the question of experts’ epistemic performance, and this paper discusses the possible reasons for this in light of well-known methodological challenges in studies of elite behaviour; access and bias problems. A discussion of the merits and limitations of different available data on the Commission experts shows that the biggest obstacle in the study of experts’ epistemic performance is rather the problem of epistemic asymmetry, i.e. of how researchers as non-experts can assess the epistemic quality of experts’ contributions and behaviour. The paper offers, finally, a set of strategies to get research going despite this problem.
Keywords: epistemic; quality; EU; expertise; European; Commission; expert; deliberation; deliberative; democracy; legitimacy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cog:poango:v:3:y:2015:i:1:p:166-178
Access Statistics for this article
More articles in Politics and Governance from Cogitatio Press
Series data maintained by António Vieira ().