Science and Technology Advice for Congress

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Millett Granger Morgan, Jon M. Peha
Resources for the Future, 2003 - Business & Economics - 236 pages
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The elimination of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) in 1995 came during a storm of budget cutting and partisan conflict. Operationally, it left Congress without an institutional arrangement to bring expert scientific and technological advice into the process of legislative decisionmaking. This deficiency has become increasingly critical, as more and more of the decisions faced by Congress and society require judgments based on highly specialized technical information. Offering perspectives from scholars and scientists with diverse academic backgrounds and extensive experience within the policy process, Science and Technology Advice for Congress breaks from the politics of the OTA and its contentious aftermath. Granger Morgan and Jon Peha begin with an overview of the use of technical information in framing policy issues, crafting legislation, and the overall process of governing. They note how, as nonexperts, legislators must make decisions in the face of scientific uncertainty and competing scientific claims from stakeholders. The contributors continue with a discussion of why OTA was created. They draw lessons from OTA's demise, and compare the use of science and technological information in Europe with the United States. The second part of the book responds to requests from congressional leaders for practical solutions. Among the options discussed are expanded functions within existing agencies such as the General Accounting or Congressional Budget Offices; an independent, NGO- administrated analysis group; and a dedicated successor to OTA within Congress. The models emphasize flexibility--and the need to make political feasibility a core component of design.
  

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Books by RFF have nearly always, in my experience, tried to go beyond stereotyped controversies, political polarization, and (less successfully) academic specialization and disciplinary preoccupations in their exploration of governmental operations. RFF wants to make a difference.
The most scholarly rightwing prober of environmentalist activism, Ron Paul, has listed RFF as part of the activist environmental organization cabal. I think that's inaccurate. Sure, it shares some ground with the environmental movement - as many reasonable people, myself included (I hope) do, but its thoughtful probing for more understanding and better methods has little to do with radical zeal of any stripe. RFF's cap and trade concept decades ago was one of the truly innovative tools for making otherwise crude and potentially damaging regulation more efficient and responsive to the complexities of the market.
OK, let me now admit, I haven't read the above book! I found it through searching for specific science policy problems and have now ordered a used copy through Amazon! (another brilliant and indispensable innovation that with one stroke increased the accessibility of insights from scholarly books tenfold or more).
The introduction says that the book was born out of the turbulent activities in Congress in the mid 1990s,when a legitimate movement seeking reform of government went off the rails and - for what appears I have read was short range partisan pique, Newt Gingrich terminated the Office of Technology Assessment, a valuable source of information and insight into governmental technology agencies and issues associated with technology.
The authors of chapters of the book are looking, in part, to see what can be done to replace OTA's critical services (why not simply restore it?) and otherwise to examine the flow of scientific information and advice to Congress. Readers: if you get this far and actually loan or buy the book - why not finish out my review with your assessment of how valuable the contents are?
 

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Contents

Analysis Governance and the Need for Better Institutional
3
Past Trends and Present
23
The Origins Accomplishments and Demise of the Office
53
Insights from the Office of Technology Assessment
77
The European Experience
90
Thinking about Alternative Models
101
Expanded Use of the National Academies
118
Expanding the Role of the Congressional Science
134
A Dedicated Organization in Congress
157
An Independent Analysis Group That Works Exclusively
164
Where Do We Go from Here?
173
The Technology Assessment Act of 1972
183
Details on the National Academies Complex
191
An External Evaluation of the GAOs First Pilot
208
Index
229
Copyright

A Lean Distributed Organization To Serve Congress
145

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

References from web pages

SCIENCE AND GOVERNMENT: Improving Science and Technology Advice ...
Improving Science and Technology Advice for Congress. M. Granger Morgan,* Amo Houghton, John H. Gibbons. America's founding fathers created a Congress of ...
www.sciencemag.org/ cgi/ content/ full/ 293/ 5537/ 1999?ck=nck& ijkey=jn1JDpsOKfJNI

SCIENCE AND GOVERNMENT: Improving Science and Technology Advice ...
Improving Science and Technology Advice for Congress. M. Granger Morgan,* Amo Houghton, John H. Gibbons. America's founding fathers created a Congress of ...
www.scienceonline.org/ cgi/ content/ full/ 293/ 5537/ 1999

A VIRTUE-FREE SCIENCE FOR PUBLIC POLICY? M. Granger Morgan and Jon ...
Science and Technology Advice for Congress (Washington, DC: RFF Press, 2003),. 53–76. 3. Margolis and Guston, op. cit. note 2, 63. 398. CHRISTOPHER HAMLIN ...
www.springerlink.com/ index/ P95W31H212X26186.pdf

Technology Assessment in Congress: History and Legislative Options
Science and Technology Advice for Congress, M. Granger Morgan and Jon Peha, eds.,. Washington, Resources for the Future, 2003, 236 p. ...
www.fas.org/ sgp/ crs/ misc/ RS21586.pdf

EPP :: Issue No. 22 Page 12
Improving Science and Technology Advice for Congress A new book , Science and T echnology Advice for Congress (RFF Press, 2003) edited by Granger Morgan ...
www.epp.cmu.edu/ httpdocs/ events/ issue22/ page12.html

ES&T Online News: Guidance for science and technology policy
Science and Technology Advice for Congress is based on a June 2001 workshop attended by congressional staffers, academics, policy analysts, and others. ...
pubs.acs.org/ subscribe/ journals/ esthag-w/ 2003/ oct/ tech/ cc_guidance.html

denialism blog : Bring Back the OTA - Bring Back Evidence Based ...
"Science and Technology Advice for Congress" M. Granger Morgan and Jon M. Peha, editors RFF Press, 236 p. hardcover ISBN 1-891853-75-9 (US$65.00) ...
scienceblogs.com/ denialism/ 2007/ 09/ bring_back_the_ota_bring_back.php

The Future of Technology Assessment
Science and Technology Advice for Congress. , RFF Press,. Washington, dc. Bimber, B 1996. The Politics of Expertise in Congress: The Rise and Fall o the ...
www.wilsoncenter.org/ news/ docs/ techassessment.pdf

cv new/short
Morgan and jm Peha, eds., Science and Technology Advice for Congress. Washington, DC:. Resources for the Future Press. 8. dh Guston. 2003. ...
www.asu.edu/ clas/ polisci/ people/ cv/ guston-cv06.pdf

Technological Forecasting and Social Change : Politics and ...
mg Morgan and jm Peha, Editors, Science and Technology Advice for Congress, Resources for the Future Press, Washington, DC (2003). ...
linkinghub.elsevier.com/ retrieve/ pii/ S0040162504000162

About the author (2003)

M. Granger Morgan is professor and head of the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Lord Chair Professor in Engineering, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and professor in the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University.