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date: 18 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The government practice of policy analysis is often conceived to be a value-neutral task in which economic and other professional experts respond to well-defined analytical tasks as defined by their political superiors. This chapter shows that the real world is more complicated. Government policy analysts often serve in entrepreneurial roles themselves, seeking to generate top-level attention to pressing policy issues as seen by the analyst. It is difficult to separate clearly professional expert and political roles in government. Policy analysts typically incorporate a strong set of “economic values” into their professional work efforts; they frame policy options for government decision makers in light of existing political realities. Robert Nelson explores these themes relating to professional economic ethics, drawing on his personal experiences as a career economist from 1975 to 1993 in the Office of Policy Analysis in the Office of the Secretary of the Interior.

Keywords: economic value frame, government economics, policy analysis, politics and administration, professional advocacy roles, professional ethics

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