Empowering Epistemic Communities: Specialised politicians, policy experts, and policy reform

Marier, Patrik (2008)
West European Politics, 31(3): 513-533.


A handful of Swedish parliamentarians, assisted by experts within the civil service, generated one of the most discussed pension reforms since the Chilean reform of the 1980s. This article argues that they formed a successful epistemic community. The group shared similar pension values, a commitment to finding a long-term solution, and a devotion to improving the pension system. The inclusion of politicians within epistemic communities is essential to transpose knowledge into policy. Politicians involved in committees possess political knowledge necessary to bridge the gap between the experts and other legislators and the specialised knowledge needed to interact with members of the scientific community. Contrary to a ‘traditional’ epistemic community, this ‘political’ epistemic community had privileged access to the state and could translate directly the results of its discussions into concrete policy proposals.