Bridging the Gaps

The Bridging the Gaps project analyses the links between research, public debates (including media and public opinion), and policy-making on migration, in both high- and lower-income countries. Our analysis aims to critically engage and go beyond the popular ideas of “evidence based policy-making” and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, “post-truth politics”. Our starting point is that both ideas are, to a considerable extent, caricatures of much more nuanced and messy realities of what are typically highly politicized processes of (de)linking data/research, public debates, and policy-making. Evidence-based arguments and approaches to policy-making are never free of subjective decisions and normative judgements about, for example, what exactly constitutes ‘evidence’ (and who decides on that issue), how to separate ‘reliable’ from ‘unreliable’ data and analysis, what to do about processes and effects that are hard or impossible to measure. At the same time, while there are clearly many recent (and older) examples of public policy debates and policy-making processes in different countries that pay little or no attention to facts and evidence, the much-hyped shift to an ‘age of post-truth politics’ is clearly not inevitable, ubiquitous, or necessarily permanent.

Perhaps more than ever before, there is a need to study and understand how and why data, facts, and research affect—or do not affect—public debates and policy-making in different countries and contexts. This clearly requires consideration of how data and research relate to the politics of public policies and to the characteristics of processes of policy-making and implementation, all of which can, and often do, vary across countries and over time. Bridging the Gaps covers both high- and lower-income countries, and we aim to develop a specific focus on the links between research, debate, and policy-making on migration in Africa and Asia.

Project goals:

1. Analyse and compare the links between research, public debates (including media and public opinion), and policy-making on migration in high- and lower-income countries
2. Study these links at different levels of governance including local, national, supra-national and global
3. Over time, develop a specific focus on knowledge production and the role of research in public debates and policy-making on migration in Africa and Asia
4. Contribute to academic research, public debates, and capacity building on the core issues of the project

MPC researchers associated with this project:

Most MPC staff

  • Ruhs, M., Tamas, T. and J. Palme eds. (2019, forthcoming) Bridging the Gaps: Linking Research to Public Debates and Policy-making on Migration and Integration, Oxford University Press, Oxford [an “open access” book project supported and funded by Delmi ]

  • Activities
    MPC Annual Conference 2018: Panel on “Policy Dialogue on the Global Compacts

    Forthcoming: MPC Annual Conference 2019