The limits of evidence-based policy: An analysis of two decisions of technology innovation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


Despite increasing calls for evidence-based policies, knowledge about the practical use of evidence remainslimited. This study investigates the best available evidence in two policy settings of investment in technologyinnovation: an electric mobility policy and the creation of an Iberian laboratory. The work tested if the failure touse the best available evidence in a given setting points to the use of evidence for political ends. Results from thefirst case study show that the best available evidence were deliberately not used. In fact, three formal scientificstudies and a forecast from grey literature were purposefully ignored. Additional evidence were produced andbrought later in the debate phase to justify the decision. In the second decision, the best available evidence wereused with significant differences between the two countries making the same decision, but with markeddifferences in relation to the types of evidence, the type and number of sources and the depth of information used.The use of evidence depended on the needs to justify the same investment in two different policy-makingsettings. The case reveals that to understand the limits of evidence-based policy is more enlightening to considerthe best possible evidence instead of the best available evidence. Research also revealed the need to develop moreresearch about the importance of relational tacit knowledge in these decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPortugal, território de territórios
Subtitle of host publicationAtas do IX Congresso Português de Sociologia
EditorsJoão Teixeira Lopes
Place of PublicationLisboa
PublisherAssociação Portuguesa de Sociologia
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-989-97981-3-7
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventIX Congresso Português de Sociologia: Portugal, território de territórios - Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal
Duration: 6 Jul 20168 Jul 2016


ConferenceIX Congresso Português de Sociologia


  • Evidence-based policy
  • Best available evidence
  • Best possible evidence
  • Technology innovation
  • Indicators


Dive into the research topics of 'The limits of evidence-based policy: An analysis of two decisions of technology innovation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this