• Does Canadian Federalism Amplify Policy Disagreements? Values, Regions and Policy Preferences
    Éric Montpetit, Erick Lachapelle and Simon Kiss (2017)
    Institute for Reserch on Public Policy, IRPP Study 65: 1-27.
    Abstract
    Federations have to strike a delicate balance between unity and regional diversity. In the Canadian case, the highly decentralized nature of the federal system enables the provinces and regions to exercise considerable autonomy. In this context, policy disagreements have often been interpreted through the prism of regionalism. Some observers of Canadian politics have expressed concerns that this amplifies disagreement and could undermine the legitimacy of national policies and institutions.

    The significance of regionalism in Canada has long been debated and studied. In this paper, the authors’ approach is different from that of much literature in this field: they explore whether disagreements stemming from value cleavages are made worse by Canada’s regional nature. Their analysis is based on an original survey that measures the degree to which Canadians are divided along three value inclinations: egalitarianism, traditionalism and legal rigorism (a belief that laws should apply strictly and uniformly to everyone). The survey was conducted in early 2015, in five regions: British Columbia, the three Prairie provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and the four Atlantic provinces. The samples comprised around 1,000 respondents. The authors carried out detailed empirical analyses of 7 public spending domains, as well as 12 policy issues ranging from restrictions on religious symbols to support for oil pipelines. Their principal finding is that Canadians are first and foremost divided over values, not regions. Disagreements on policy issues exist because of Canadians’ differing values, not because of territorial fracture lines. In other words, the three value inclinations and the conflicts they generate are present in every region.

    Moreover, individuals who share the same values, regardless of where they live, have similar policy preferences. For example, whether they live in Quebec or the Prairie provinces, proponents of social justice show similar levels of support for environmental spending. Based on their findings, the authors present three implications for policy. First, to be successful, policy should be designed, framed and promoted to appeal primarily to values, not regions. Although the composition of values varies among regions, this does not prevent the formation of cross-regional alliances that could foster some level of national acceptance. Second, those who seek countrywide support for national policies will nevertheless sometimes need to adopt regionally sensitive communications strategies, notably to appeal to values that have been overlooked in the past in given regions by policy-makers. Third, provincial policy-makers may find it beneficial to exchange with their counterparts in other provinces when developing policies and strategies. More broadly, the authors conclude that there may have been a tendency to exaggerate fears that disagreements among Canada’s regions will be harmful to policy acceptance and institutional legitimacy. Regional differences should not be ignored, but more systematic attention to value disagreements within regions seems warranted.

  • The Role of Scientific Excellence in the Changing Meaning of Maize in Mexico
    Libertad Castro Colina and Éric Montpetit (2017)
    Review of Policy Research, early view: 1-19.
    Abstract
    Making policy is giving a meaning to objects. This perspective on policy making gained importance in the 1990s with the emergence of discursive approaches. In this article, we use the concepts of Hajer’s discourse coalition approach to shed light on the evolving meaning of maize in Mexican society. Specifically, we trace a parallel between the evolution of biotechnology policy and discourses on maize over a 25-year period. The article argues that until recently, the protection against biotechnological manipulations enjoyed by maize has been bolstered by a discourse granting the plant a special status in the country’s history. However, the emergence of a new discourse grounded on the practice of scientific excellence is now challenging the old perspectives, and also finding support among government officials. As a result, the Mexican policies granting maize special protection is changing, and this policy change will likely trigger changes in the symbolic meaning of maize.
  • Policy Learning, Motivated Scepticism, and the Politics of Shale Gas Development in British Columbia and Quebec
    Éric Montpetit and Erick Lachapelle (2017)
    Policy and Society, early view: 1-20.
    Abstract
    What is policy learning and how do we know when we observe it? This article develops an original way of operationalizing policy learning at the individual and subsystem level. First, it juxtaposes four types of opinion change at the individual level – opinion shifting; opinion softening; position-taking and opinion hardening. This last change, we argue is indicative of motivated scepticism, a non-learning process that we borrow from public opinion studies. Second, we identify factors associated with opinion change and argue that some of them indicate policy learning, while others point to motivated scepticism. Lastly, we examine learning and motivated scepticism against patterns of opinion convergence (the expected outcome of learning) and polarization (the expected outcome of motivated scepticism) at the subsystem level. We illustrate the use of this approach to study policy learning with the case of shale gas development in two Canadian provinces, British Columbia and Quebec. While, we find clear signs of individual learning and motivated scepticism in both provinces, we find that policy learning is more prevalent in Quebec than in British Columbia at the subsystem level.
  • New Environmental Technology Uptake and Bias toward the Status Quo: The Case of Phytoremediation
    Éric Montpetit and Erick Lachapelle (2017)
    Environmental Technology & Innovation, 7: 102-109.
    Abstract
    A surprisingly large number of sites around the world are left abandoned despite the presence of contaminants posing clear risks for the environment and human health. For many land owners of these sites, the cost of current decontamination technologies is prohibitive. Over the last two decades, discoveries in microbiology and plant science have regularly found that, under certain conditions, phytoremediation is a cost-effective tool for remediating sites with organic contaminants and trace elements. However, awareness and use of this technology by practitioners lags significantly behind that of conventional technology, reflecting a status quo bias and preference for conventional excavation. Drawing on data from an original survey of soil decontamination practitioners, this study sheds new light on why, despite its promise, phytoremediation remains under-used. This
    research highlights the challenge of transferring scientific knowledge from the laboratory to practitioners working to mitigate serious environmental problems.
  • Has Simeon’s Vision Prevailed among Canadian Policy Scholars?
    Éric Montpetit, Christine Rothmayr Allison and Isabelle Engeli (2016)
    Canadian Journal of Political Science, 49: 763-785.
    Abstract
    Concerned by the proliferation of idiosyncratic prescriptive case studies in the nascent subfield of policy studies, Richard Simeon, in his seminal 1976 article, asked scholars to produce more comparative policy research that aimed at explaining general events and contributing to theory building. The extent to which Simeon’s vision materialized remains debated. With a view to informing this debate, we conducted a systematic content analysis of the articles published in five major generalist public policy journals from 1980 to 2015. The analysis reveals that Canadian policy scholars took a comparative turn, publishing more territorial, sector and time comparisons than in the past. We also found evidence that theoretical knowledge accumulation is more important today for Canadian authors than it was when Simeon wrote his article.
  • Information, Values and Expert Decision-Making: the Case of Soil Decontamination
    Éric Montpetit and Erick Lachapelle (2016)
    Policy Sciences, 49: 155-171.
    Abstract
    Building on insights from cognitive psychology and scholarship on decisionmaking, this article examines the respective role of values and information, and the interaction between them, in the formation of expert judgment. We analyze data from an original expert survey on soil decontamination practices and test several hypotheses found in the literature. While it is common to assume that experts rely primarily on factual information when making decisions, we find that values may also orient the judgment of experts when such information is lacking. In such cases, experts may be influenced by their value predispositions, leading to a wider range of expert assessments. Conversely, the judgment of experts who possess the relevant information tends to converge on the best known outcomes. We thus find that relevant knowledge mediates the role of values in expert judgment. While suggesting that some caution should always be taken when deferring to experts, our findings suggest that governments and the public are justified in taking experts’ judgment seriously.
  • Putting Phytoremediation into Action
    Erick Lachapelle and Éric Montpetit, (2015)
    The Scientist, 29: 18-19.
    Abstract
    Researchers studying the use of bacteria and plants to remove toxins from the soil must better communicate their results if they want their techniques to be used by practitioners in the field.
  • Can Policy Actors Learn from Academic Scientists
    Éric Montpetit and Erick Lachapelle (2015)
    Environmental Politics, 24: 661-680.
    Abstract
    Results from an embedded survey experiment administered to practitioners who advise landowners on decontamination practices are analyzed. These professionals play a key role in the area of soil decontamination, an issue that science has made particularly tractable and which calls for new technologies and policy approaches. Powerful interests, however, work against the rapid deployment of these new technologies and approaches. Our survey experiment, designed to overcome major difficulties in the study of policy learning, shows that exposure to new scientific knowledge can positively influence the attitude of practitioners to new technologies, independently of other confounding forces. This finding suggests that learning from science provides a potential pathway toward increased use of environmentally beneficial soil decontamination methods. The results contribute to research on the politics of environmental protection, as well the literature on policy learning.
  • Les sciences et l’élaboration des politiques publiques
    Éric Montpetit (2015)
    Découvrir: Le magazine de l’Acfas, no. 4.
    Abstract
    Les médias, les acteurs politiques et l’opinion publique agissent comme intermédiaires qui viennent parfois colorer, parfois déformer, les connaissances scientifiques qui informent les décisions de politiques publiques. Ceux qui aimeraient que les décisions de politiques s’arriment à de solides connaissances scientifiques sont donc souvent déçus, percevant ces intermédiaires comme autant de sources d’obstruction. Qu’en est-il?
  • Public Perceptions of Expert Credibility on Policy Issues: The Role of Expert Framing and Political Worldviews
    Erick Lachapelle, Éric Montpetit and Jean-Philippe Gauvin (2014)
    Policy Studies Journal, 42: 674-697.
    Abstract
    How do individuals assess the credibility of experts in various policy domains? Under what conditions does the public interpret particular scientific knowledge claims as being trustworthy and credible? Using data collected from an online survey experiment, administered to 1,507 adult residents of Quebec, this paper seeks answers to these questions. Specifically, we examine variation in the way members of the public perceive the credibility of scientific experts in the areas of climate change, shale gas extraction, cell phones, and wind farms. Our results contribute to the existing literatures on public perceptions of policy experts, framing, and cultural theory. We find that individuals evaluate expert credibility based on the way in which experts frame issues, and on the congruity/dissonance between these expert communication frames and one’s underlying worldview. However, we also identify limits to these framing effects. Our findings shed light on the interaction of framing and political worldviews in shaping public perceptions of expert credibility in various policymaking contexts.
  • Divergence and Convergence of Policy Priorities among Sub-National Units in Federal Systems: the Cases of Canada and Spain
    Laura Chaqués-Bonafont, Éric Montpetit, Anna M. Palau and Luz Munoz (2012)
    Perspective on Europe , 42: 14-21.
    Abstract
  • Are Interprovincial Relations Becoming More Important Than Federal-Provincial Ones
    Éric Montpetit (2012)
    Federal News, 3: 1-6.
    Abstract
  • Canadian Federalism and Change in Policy Attention: A Comparison with the United Kingdom
    Éric Montpetit and Martial Foucault (2012)
    Canadian Journal of Political Science, 45: 635-656.
    Abstract
    Federal systems empower multiple policy actors from different levels of governments. For some scholars, the disagreements arising within such a diverse group of actors create policy stalemates. Others contend instead that new ideas are more likely to arise and diffuse from such a diverse group. This article is a contribution to this scholarly debate, proposing an original contribution on policy agendas. It argues that both perspectives are useful to understanding the dynamic of policy making within federal systems. Looking at change in policy attention in Canadian and British speeches from the throne, the article argues that federalism constrains change immediately following a party turnover in government. In the following years, however, federal arrangements encourage larger changes in policy attention than arrangements where power is centralized.
  • Does Holding Beliefs with Conviction Prevent Policy Actors from Adopting a Compromising Attitude?
    Éric Montpetit (2012)
    Political Studies, 60: 621-642.
    Abstract
    Much of the political science literature argues that commitment to beliefs renders the attitudes of policy actors inflexible. Belief commitment encourages alliances among actors who think alike and creates a distance with those whose beliefs differ. As it cuts the flow of information between disagreeing actors, belief commitment constrains the attitudes of actors to consistency across a variety of objects and over time, preventing policy compromises. This article examines the possibility that different beliefs have different effects on attitude. Specifically, it hypothesizes that actors holding purposive beliefs have more consistent attitudes than actors holding material beliefs. Thanks to a survey of North American and European biotechnology policy actors, conducted twice between 2006 and 2008, it is shown that a strong commitment to purposive beliefs encourages attitude consistency across objects and over time, while equal commitment to material beliefs enables more attitude flexibility. Implications for democracy and policy-making compromises are discussed.
  • Between Detachment and Responsiveness: Civil Servants in Europe and North America
    Éric Montpetit (2011)
    West European Politics, 34: 1250-1271.
    Abstract
    The article shows that civil servants who believe that the long-term interest of society is best served by their detached policy advice to policy-makers also hold on to their opinion more than any other actor involved in policy development. However, more civil servants currently emphasise responsiveness, at the expense of detached analysis, owing to increased exposure to international consultancy and forums. As a consequence, the attitude of civil servants in developing public policy is more likely to be indistinguishable from that of actors who have political functions, without significant variation from country to country. Evidence supporting this argument is provided by an analysis of theresults of a survey first conducted in 2006 and repeated in 2008. The two waves of the survey drew responses from civil servants, interest group representatives and nongovernmental experts who contribute to biotechnology policy development in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and the European Union.
  • Scientific Credibility, Disagreement, and Error Cost in 17 Biotechnology Policy Subsystems
    Éric Montpetit (2011)
    Policy Studies Journal, 39: 513-533.
    Abstract
    One of the original objectives of the advocacy coalition framework (ACF) was to shed light on the role of science in policymaking. The ACF depicts subsystem scientists as political actors just like any other. Unfortunately, science has never become a major theme of research within the framework and, as a consequence, its role in policymaking remains under-theorized, leaving ample room for interpretation. This article seeks to explore the validity of three propositions about the role of science in policy. The first two are derived from the ACF: (i) the capacity of scientists to provide credible advice is affected by the harshness of the political debates dividing the policy subsystem; and (ii) agreement among scientists is just as common as among other groupings of policy actors. The third is derived from an “error costs” argument: (iii) Disagreements among scientists are even more pronounced than disagreements among other policy actors. Using the results of a survey of policy actors in 17 biotechnology subsystems, this article finds support for the first and third propositions. Indeed, scientists’ participation in political divisions might even be underestimated by the ACF. The article concludes with attempts to clarify the role of scientists within the ACF, including discussions of ambiguity regarding the role of professional forums and of scientists in between-coalition learning within policy subsystems.
  • Populisme et paradoxes
    Éric Montpetit (2010)
    Argument, 13: 43-48.
    Abstract
  • Policy Styles and Degenerative Politics: Poverty Policy Designs in Newfoundland and Quebec
    Matthieu Mondou and Éric Montpetit (2010)
    Policy Studies Journal, 38: 703-722.
    Abstract
    This article examines the proposal suggesting that policy designs are consistent with the social construction of target groups. Associated with policy design theory, the proposal pessimistically suggests that underprivileged citizens will be targeted with policies that do little to help them, creating a vicious circle of degenerative politics. This article argues that the prevalence of degenerative politics depends on policy styles. Significant where the adversarial style prevails, degenerative politics is less common in consensual systems. This proposal is examined through a systematic content analysis of action plans to reduce poverty in Newfoundland and Quebec.
  • Network Deliberations and Policy Transfers in the Development of a European Human Genome Policy
    Isabelle Paré and Éric Montpetit (2009)
    Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 11: 499-514.
    Abstract
    International relation scholars often view EU governance as akin to the governance of an international organization, while comparative politics scholars study it with methods commonly used in the study of nation-states. Increasingly, however, scholars recognize that EU governance has little in common with either of an international organization or a nation-state. They argue that European governance, more than other policy development settings, features policy transfers. Transfers are decided in networks of actors, often organized around committees, after deliberations over the success and failure of member-states’ relevant policy experiences. This article adds evidence behind the argument that policy transfers play a particular role in European governance. The evidence comes from a study of the development of the Human Genome Analysis Programme in the late 1980s.
  • Governance and Policy Learning in the European Union: A Comparison with North America
    Éric Montpetit (2009)
    Journal of European Public Policy, 16: 1185-1203.
    Abstract
    Several scholars argue that policy-making in the EU occurs in horizontal networks more frequently than in nation states. They add that EU networks, unlike networks in nation states, are not subordinated to any formal structure of authority. Moreover, EU networks seek consensus as their actors are concerned about the EU’s democratic deficit. Consequently, learning features prominently as a method to make policy decisions in EU governance. This article tests this proposal. The test rests on a comparative survey yielding 666 completed questionnaires from actors involved in biotechnology policy development in Europe and North America. The survey was conducted twice, once in 2006 and once in 2008, and provides information on policy learning intensity, on consensus formation and on policy transfers. The survey fails to provide evidence that policy actors involved in EU governance learn more than those involved exclusively in European and North American nation states.
  • Can Policy Actors Agree on Biotechnology?
    Éric Montpetit and Adam Sheingate (2008)
    The Biotechnology Journal, 3: 1139-1141.
    Abstract
  • Easing Dissatisfaction with Canadian Federalism? The Promise of Disjointed Incrementalism
    Éric Montpetit (2008)
    Canadian Political Science Review, 2: 1-17.
    Abstract
    This paper argues that the greatest threat to Canadian unity is not so much the absence of some of the characteristics that Daniel Kelemen claims are to be found in stable federations but the tendency of political leaders and parties to put forward contradicting “visions” of Canada. When such visions are used as templates for reforming the constitution, failures usually ensue. A strategy of disjointed incrementalism is a more prudent and ultimately more efficient way to proceed. It seems to be the strategy adopted by Prime Minister Harper and it could prove successful in easing some of the dissatisfactions experienced in both Quebec and western Canada.
  • What Does It Take for a Canadian Political Scientist to Get Cited?
    Éric Montpetit, André Blais and Martial Foucault (2008)
    Social Science Quarterly, 89: 802-816.
    Abstract
    Objectives. The article examines the factors that influence the frequency whereby scholarly articles published by Canadian political scientists are cited. Method. We collected data on 1,860 journal articles published between 1985 and 2005 by 758 Canadian political scientists and listed in the Social Science Citation Index. Using these data, we performed OLS and tobit estimations to identify factors influencing citation frequency. Results. The regressions show that the reputation of the journal in which the article is published, though important, does not explain everything. The gender of the author(s), the number of authors, the geographical focus of the article, the field, and the methodology also matter. Conclusion. An article is more likely to be widely cited if it is published in a prestigious journal, if it is written by several authors, if it applies quantitative methods, if it compares countries, and if it deals with administration and public policy or elections and political parties. Faculty members who belong to larger departments and those who are women are more cited.
  • Policy Design for Legitimacy: Expert Knowledge, Citizens, Time and Inclusion in the United Kingdom’s Biotechnology Sector
    Éric Montpetit (2008)
    Public Administration, 90: 259-277.
    Abstract
    More than ever, policy designers need to take legitimacy deficits seriously. To do so, they increasingly involve citizens in policy design processes and draw from a wider range of expertise. Where should they stop in terms of inclusiveness to citizens and expertise and for how long should they allow citizens and experts to be persuasive? These are the questions addressed in this article. Policy design legitimacy, the article argues, can be related to variations in designers and politicians’ inclination to resort to output-oriented (expertise-based) versus input-oriented (citizen-centred) design processes. Input-oriented processes have a higher potential in terms of legitimacy deficit reduction than output-oriented processes, but they take longer, notably because they require the involvement of large numbers of people. In contrast, output-oriented processes have a slightly lower legitimacy potential, but can produce it faster. These propositions are illustrated by two policy design narratives drawn from the United Kingdom’s biotechnology sector.
  • Cultures and the Democratization of Risk Management: The Widening Biotechnology Gap between Canada and France
    Éric Montpetit and Christian Rouillard (2008)
    Administration and Society, 39: 907-930.
    Abstract
    This article considers culture in the explanation of the gap between North America and Europe in the area of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Thanks to a comparison of Canada and France, the article distinguishes between two cultures of GMO risk management: the culture of managerial rationality (Canada) and the culture of integration (France). The first culture provides proponents of scientific neutrality the tools to preserve itself from external criticisms. In contrast, the second culture creates a proper environment for its contestation from within. When the democratization of science became an issue in the 1990s, the culture of integration transformed itself significantly, allowing debates within risk management processes. This change contributed to the gap between Europe and North America over GMOs.
  • A Deductive Analysis of Public Private Partnerships for Health Technology
    Éric Montpetit (2006)
    Gouvernance, 3: 1-16.
    Abstract
    In several countries, consulting firms, think thanks and even government agencies spend a considerable amount of energy trying to expand the scope of public private partnerships (PPPs). Initially confined to the construction and maintenance of public infrastructures, PPPs are currently discussed and experimented with in sectors as diverse as health care provision, crime reduction, immigrants’ integration and even the organization of elections. This paper discusses the way PPPs are likely to transform the adoption of novel medical technology in countries where health care is publicly funded. I believe, however, that several ideas presented here can be useful to consider in applying PPPs to all sectors of state intervention relying on expensive technologies. In the first section, I begin by presenting the economic understanding upon which PPPs rest. I then present the simple and uncontroversial assumption that, in democratic countries, PPPs are negotiated by politicians. Withholding the rationality assumption upon which economic theory rests, I argue that rational politicians are unlikely to prefer a PPP contract appealing to a private partner, unless politicians accept occasional re-negotiation of given clauses of PPP contracts. Where this occurs, however, the alleged economic efficiency of PPPs is seriously undermined. In the second section, I present a series of reasons to contest economic theory’s treatment of health technology choices as economic choices. These reasons, I suggest, made significant contributions to health technology assessment and purchase reforms. The economic reasoning behind PPPs, I conclude, poses a serious threat to these reforms.
  • Regulating Biomedicine in Europe and North America: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis
    Frédéric Varone, Christine Rothmayr and Éric Montpetit (2006)
    European Journal of Political Research, 45: 317-343.
    Abstract
    This article explains the variation in policy design processes and the resulting policy-outputs of ‘biopolicies’ implemented within the domain of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) for eleven European and North-American countries. By applying the method of Qualitative Comparative Analysis, the comparison describes and defines the ‘multiple conjunctural causation’ to explain the divergences or similarities of ART policies in Europe and North America. The policy preferences of the actors involved in the relevant ART policy network and the institutional rules characterizing the respective polity need to be considered together in order to explain why different countries adopted similar or different ART policies. In particular, the analysis stresses the influence of party politics, the self-regulation of ART by the physicians, the mobilization of interest groups, the number of institutional arenas involved in the designing process and the nature of decision-making rules (power-sharing versus majority) on the designing processes and the resulting policies. Thus, different policy designs are linked to different designing processes, encompassing four ideal-typical decision-making modes: ‘designing by non-decisions’, ‘designing by elites’, ‘designing by accommodation’ and ‘designing by mobilization and consultation’. These results shed new light on the challenges for developing a policy design theory that could provide a robust framework for describing and explaining policy formulation.
  • A Policy Network Explanation of Biotechnology Policy Differences Between the United States and Canada
    Éric Montpetit (2005)
    Journal of Public Policy, 25: 339-366.
    Abstract
    Canada has a more restrictive biotechnology policy than the United States. Adopting a similar-cases-research-design, this article shows that policy networks explain this difference. The overlapping nature and the boundary between the multiple networks relevant to biotechnology in each country are distinct. In the United States, two policy networks deal with biotechnology. One primarily handles agricultural plants, while the other deals with food; key state actors overlap. In contrast, networks in Canada are separated between those dealing with regulation with two overlapping networks assessing environmental and health risks, and a network to manage biotechnology promotion. Promotion and regulation thus constitute a network boundary in Canada, but not in the United States, where networks deal with these two issues simultaneously. American networks have promoted beliefs favourable to more permissive regulatory preferences than the Canadian environmental and health risk assessment networks and American biotechnology policies are therefore even more permissive than those of Canada.
  • NAC’s Organizational Practices and the Politics of Assisted Reproductive Technologies in Canada
    Francesca Scala, Éric Montpetit and Isabelle Fortier (2005)
    Canadian Journal of Political Science, 38: 581-604.
    Abstract
    As the formal “carriers” of the goals and agendas of social movements, social movement organizations (SMOs) are committed to both institutional and identity politics. Given this dual engagement, SMOs must attempt to reconcile their intraorganizational strategies for representation and mobilization with their intergroup strategies for instrumental action in the policy process. In this article, these tensions are explored in a case study of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) and its involvement in the policy debate on reproductive technologies over 15 years. The article reveals how the NAC’s capacity to influence and participate in the formulation of policy on reproductive technologies was challenged by its inability to resolve competing demands: those of institutional politics, which called for professional advocacy; and the internal demands emanating from its grassroots member groups, for deliberation and participation. The article also attributes the NAC’s diminished effectiveness in the policy process to broader changes in the relations between the Canadian state and social movement organizations.
  • Les nouvelles formes de la démocratie : numéro spécial
    André Duhamel et Éric Montpetit (2005)
    Éthique publique, 7: 5-10.
    Abstract
    La démocratie, comprise comme une forme d’exercice du pouvoir dont la source de légitimité réside dans la souveraineté populaire, est en passe de devenir, depuis le tournant du siècle, le seul référent normatif de l’organisation politique et de la chose publique. Dans ce contexte où une valeur déclarée obtient un quasi-monopole, sa relation avec la pratique devient problématique, comme peuvent le montrer les deux observations suivantes. Tout d’abord, lorsque les attentes de la population sont particulièrement élevées (tout le monde est pour la vertu), elles peuvent d’autant plus être instrumentalisées et servir des fins de propagande et de manipulation (en particulier en politique étrangère). Cette possibilité incite à la prudence et à la vigilance. Ensuite, les critiques concernant la pratique de la démocratie sont devenues presque exclusivement internes aux régimes démocratiques eux-mêmes, renforçant de ce fait leur caractère «autofondé» ou «réflexif»: les débats sur la démocratie sont constitutifs de la démocratie, et elle ne serait pas ce qu’elle est si elle ne se remettait sans cesse en cause. Cela peut mener à la perplexité ou à la désillusion, mais aussi à la créativité et aux expérimentations collectives nouvelles. C’est cette dernière voie qu’entendent explorer les contributions réunies ici, selon la mission particulière de la revue Éthique publique.
  • Institutional Vulnerability to Social Constructions: Federalism, Target Populations and Policy Designs for Assisted Reproductive Technology in Six Democracies
    Éric Montpetit, Christine Rothmayr and Frédéric Varone (2005)
    Comparative Political Studies, 38: 119-142.
    Abstract
    This article contributes to efforts to integrate power-based, institutionalist, and constructivist perspectives on policy making. Using an analysis of policy designs for assisted reproductive technology, the authors argue that jurisdictional federations are more vulnerable to social constructions based on widely held perceptions of social groups than functional federations and, to a lesser extent, unitary states. In fact, policy makers in jurisdictional federations tend to rely on communicative discourses aimed at convincing a wide public, whereas those in functional federations need coordinative discourses to obtain the support of actors who play key roles in decision making. Where coordinative discourses prevail over communicative discourses, policy makers will more likely target advantaged groups with restrictive policies.
  • The Paradox of Deliberative Democracy: the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and Canada’s Policy on Reproductive Technology
    Éric Montpetit, Francesca Scala and Isabelle Fortier (2004)
    Policy Sciences, 37: 137-157.
    Abstract
    This article explores the relationship between inclusive and deliberative social movement organisations (SMOs) and state authorities. Three perspectives are presented. The first perspective argues in favour of an autonomous public sphere, in which SMOs establish only indirect relations with state authorities. This perspective suggests that direct relations are unnecessary to exert influence on policy choices. In contrast, the second perspective advocates an inclusive state, invested with SMOs. While direct cooperation guarantees policy influence, it does not necessarily lead to co-optation on the part of SMOs. The third perspective is primarily concerned with the impact of deliberative and strategic ideas and practices on power relations within SMOs. It argues that state authorities have expectationstoward the public sphere that sometimes feed into the tension within SMOs between the proponents of deliberation and those in favour of strategic action. When this organisational strife reaches a critical point, the capacity of a SMO to contribute to both deliberation and policy-making are seriously undermined. Our empirical analysis of the contribution of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) on the issue of assisted reproductive technology (ART) in Canada during a period of 15 years provides strong support for this third perspective.
  • Biotechnology, Life Sciences and Policy Networks in the European Union
    Éric Montpetit (2003)
    Swiss Political Science Review, 9: 127-135.
    Abstract
  • Démocratisation de la gestion des risques: Divergences entre le Canada, la France et le Royaume-Uni au sujet des OGM
    Éric Montpetit (2003)
    Lien social et politiques, 50: 91-104.
    Abstract
    La gestion des risques liés aux biotechnologies a traditionnellement été accomplie en conformité aux principes de la rationalité managériale, qui confinent à l’intérieur de rôles très précis les scientifiques, les managers et les politiciens. Les récents scandales du sang contaminé et de la vache folle ont non seulement contribué à remettre en cause les préceptes de cette rationalité managériale, mais aussi accru la sensibilité de certains gouvernants aux discours sur la démocratisation de la gestion des risques. Cet article présente deux modèles divergents de démocratisation de la gestion des risques dans le domaine des OGM, et un cas hybride. Le premier modèle, observé au Canada, ne remet pas fondamentalement en question les principes de la rationalité managériale, bien que ses partisans n’hésitent pas à recourir à la rhétorique de la démocratisation. Le deuxième, celui des perspectives contradictoires observé en France, est plus fidèle aux idées de démocratisation qui trouvent leur source dans la théorie critique de la rationalité managériale. Enfin, le cas hybride, celui du Royaume-Uni, permet à l’auteur de conclure que le modèle de la subordination à la rationalité managériale n’est tenable que dans un contexte institutionnel qui favorise un strict contrôle politique du discours sur les risques.
  • Does Federalism Matter for Biopolicies? Switzerland in Comparative Perspective
    Christine Rothmayr, Frédéric Varone and Éric Montpetit (2003)
    Swiss Political Science Review, 9: 109-136.
    Abstract
    This article analyses how federalism matters for the policy-designing process and the resulting policies in the field of Assisted Reproductive Technology through the comparison of four countries, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Canada. It reconstructs from an actor-centred perspective how federalism interacts with other country and policy-field specific characteristics and empirically assesses how this interaction influenced the final policies. By focusing on Assisted Reproductive Technology, the article examines the potential influence of federalism on public policies beyond the standard discussion of the comparative political economy of federalism.
  • Public Consultations in Policy Network Environments: The Case of Assisted Reproductive Technology in Canada
    Éric Montpetit (2003)
    Canadian Public Policy, XXIX: 95-110.
    Abstract
    This paper stresses the increasing importance of public consultation in a context where policymakers seek higher input-oriented legitimacy for policy design, a form of legitimacy valued by the proponents of the governance discourse. Three modes of public consultation are identified: the strategic mode, the rule-guided mode, and communicative action. It is argued that the choice of modes, and therefore the manner in which consultors approach their role, depends on policy networks. When networks are closed to a small number of cohesive actors, any of the three modes can work to the satisfaction of those involved. However, the extent to which networks must be open to achieve input-oriented legitimacy significantly constrains the choice of a consultation mode. The case of assisted reproductive-technology policy design presented in this article illustrates that in the context of network openness, consultors will prefer strategy over communicative action and eventually rule-guidance over strategy. Unfortunately, this manner of approaching public consultation is unlikely to confer input-oriented legitimacy onto policy designs.
  • Pour en finir avec le lobbying : comment les institutions canadiennes influencent-elles l’action des groupes d’intérêt
    Éric Montpetit (2002)
    Politique et Sociétés, 21: 91-112.
    Abstract
    Influencés par une littérature américaine abondante, les Canadiens ramènent trop aisément l’ensemble des actions des groupes d’intérêts à du lobbying. Adoptant une perspective institutionnaliste, cet article affirme pourtant que les groupes d’intérêts au Canada sont appelés à jouer un rôle plus significatif en matière d’élaboration des politiques publiques. C’est donc dans l’optique de mieux rendre compte de la contribution des groupes d’intérêts canadiens que ce texte propose une typologie de leurs actions. De manière plus précise, l’auteur suggère que les institutions parlementaires issues du modèle de Westminster, le fédéralisme exécutif et les réseaux de politiques publiques encouragent les groupes à ne pas limiter leurs actions à la transmission de demandes spécifiques mais à mettre leurs connaissances et leurs expertises au service des gouvernants.
  • Policy Networks, Federal Arrangements and the Development of Environmental Regulations: A Comparison of the Canadian and American Agricultural Sectors
    Éric Montpetit (2002)
    Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration, 15: 1-20.
    Abstract
    Both studies of federations and studies of policy networks have sought to produce explanations for observed patterns of policy divergence and designs. However, both have evolved in parallel, insights rarely transferring from one to the other. This article reconciles the two types of studies. More specifically, it provides an understanding of the divergent efforts of the United States and Canada with regard to the adoption of environmental regulations for the agricultural sector, which emphasizes the establishment of policy networks through interactions between past policy decisions and federal arrangements. The American federal structure, when combined with unrelated agricultural policy decisions, shaped policy networks in such a way as to enable the adoption of stringent environmental regulations for agriculture. In contrast, the Canadian federal structure, also in conjunction with past policy decisions, prevented the creation of policy networks capable enough to design similarly stringent agro-environmental regulations.
  • La Révolution tranquille et le réformisme institutionnel : pour un dépassement des discours réactionnaires sur l’étatisme québécois
    Éric Montpetit et Christian Rouillard (2001)
    Globe : revue internationale d’études québécoises, 4: 119-139.
    Abstract
  • Europeanization and Domestic Politics: Europe and the Development of a French Environmental Policy for the Agricultural Sector
    Éric Montpetit (2000)
    Journal of European Public Policy, 7: 576-592.
    Abstract
    This article examines the impact of Europeanization on French politics. More specifically, three theories, two belonging to international relations and one to comparative public policy, are tested against the contribution of Europe to the development of an environmental policy for agriculture in France. This sector was selected because of the difficulties that French policy – makers face in addressing environmental problems related to agricultural practices. The article shows that Europe helped French policymakers to meet the challenge of adopting stringent environmental regulations for agriculture. However, it also shows that the domestic corporatist setting prevailing in agriculture had a significant impact on the policy outcome. Therefore, it is argued that international relations theories and comparative public policy theories are more powerful when combined. Ways of achieving such a combination are proposed.
  • Policy Communities and Policy Divergence in Canada: Agro-Environmental Policy Development in Québec and Ontario
    Éric Montpetit (1999)
    Canadian Journal of Political Science, XXXII: 691-714.
    Abstract
  • Corporatisme québécois et performance des gouvernants: analyse comparative des politiques environnementales en agriculture
    Montpetit Éric (1999)
    Politique et Sociétés, 18: 79-98.
    Abstract
  • Against the Odds: Retrenchment in Agriculture in France and the United States
    William D. Coleman, Michael Atkinson and Éric Montpetit (1997)
    World Politics, 49: 453-81.
    Abstract
    This article extends recent work on a comparative theory of retrenchment in social policy by asking whether the politics of retrenchment travels well across policy areas, with policy feedback remaining a crucial variable for explaining government success or failure. The article analyzes policy change in agriculture in the United States and France, a natural choice for an extension of retrenchment theory because agricultural policy resembles social policy in some respects but also provides telling points of contrast. The article finds that the call for new theories focusing on retrenchment is justified: the politics of agricultural retrenchment differs from that of expansion, and success at retrenchment varies by program. The analysis shows, as well, that retrenchment has been significant both in the U.S. and in France and the European Union. Variations in policy feedback help explain why these policy changes occurred. Moreover, the France-U.S. comparison highlights how systemic institutional factors shape the politics of retrenchment. Finally, focusing on agriculture, a policy sector in which international developments have a greater direct importance than they do in social policy, the article identifies an additional systemic retrenchment strategy: constraining domestic programs through international agreements.