Policy benchmarking: a tool of democracy or a tool of authoritarianism?
Benchmarking: An International Journal, 14(4) pp. 497–516.
Policy benchmarking is a comparison tool that plays a crucial role in the European Union process of policy-making. This paper discusses the relationship between policy benchmarking, democracy and authoritarianism. It argues that there are two methodological perspectives of policy benchmarking: the first is based on the principle of learning and the bottom-up approach; the second is grounded on the principle of copying and the top-down approach. The first methodological perspective of policy benchmarking can be regarded as democratic because the principle of learning and the bottom-up approach are clearly linked with substantive values of diversity and participation. By contrast, the second methodological perspective of policy benchmarking can be seen as authoritarian because the principle of copying and the top-down approach are linked with uniformity and the lack of democratic control. The European Union benchmarking applications include elements of both democracy and authoritarianism.
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