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Democracy in MotionEvaluating the Practice and Impact of Deliberative Civic Engagement$
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Tina Nabatchi, John Gastil, Matt Leighninger, and G. Michael Weiksner

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199899265

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199899265.001.0001

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Assessing the Policy Impacts of Deliberative Civic Engagement

Assessing the Policy Impacts of Deliberative Civic Engagement

Comparing Engagement in the Health Policy Processes of Brazil and Canada

(p.181) 9 Assessing the Policy Impacts of Deliberative Civic Engagement
Democracy in Motion

Gregory Barrett

Miriam Wyman

P. Coelho Vera Schattan

Oxford University Press

To date, much of the research on the quality of deliberation has been devoted to assessing the democratic performance of deliberation or its impact on participants, rather than the impact on policy and policy performance. This chapter seeks to fill that gap in knowledge by discussing the impact of deliberative civic engagement on policy change. Specifically, this chapter examines the role citizen participation can play in policymaking, and presents examples from across a spectrum of deliberative civic engagement processes and policy areas. It then focuses on two in-depth case studies of deliberative civic engagement in the health policy-making processes of Brazil and Canada. Although many experts contend that deliberative civic engagement, once in place, will become a major factor in policy making, the comparative analysis of these case studies suggests that deliberation is only one consideration among many decision making factors in the policy process. Three features are identified as critical determinants of the degree and direction of policy change—the empowerment, embeddedness, and legitimacy of the deliberative mechanism.

Keywords:   deliberation, participation, civic engagement, public involvement, health policy, health governance, health system

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