Investigating the production and communication of evidence by the Productivity Commission: Apolitical, political, or somewhere in between?

Celia Green, Gemma Carey, Eleanor Malbon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The Australian Productivity Commission (PC) is an inquiry body of international renown, which Australian governments engage to obtain objective evidence-informed recommendations regarding a wide range of policy issues. Despite its prominence in the Australian policy landscape, there has been little empirical investigation into its practices. This study sought to understand the processes by which evidence is produced and communicated by the PC, with an emphasis on understanding its role within the policy process. Our findings unsettle the notion of the PC as an arms-length, independent body from government – revealing a more complex interplay of interpersonal strategies in both the production of evidence, shaping of recommendations, and communication of both. We identify practices undertaken by PC staff commonly attributed to policy entrepreneurs – or individuals seeking to influence policy and political processes. Our findings suggest that in different contexts and at different times, the PC shifts between being an apolitical or political actor.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)18-36
    JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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