The Value of Crowdsourcing in Public Policymaking: Epistemic, Democratic and Economic Value

While national and local governments increasingly deploy crowdsourcing in lawmaking as an open government practice, it remains unclear how crowdsourcing creates value when it is applied in policymaking. Therefore, in this article, we examine value creation in crowdsourcing for public policymaking. We introduce a framework for analysing value creation in public policymaking in the following three dimensions: democratic, epistemic and economic. Democratic value is created by increasing transparency, accountability, inclusiveness and deliberation in crowdsourced policymaking. Epistemic value is developed when crowdsourcing serves as a knowledge search mechanism and a learning context. Economic value is created when crowdsourcing makes knowledge search in policymaking more efficient and enables government to produce policies that better address citizens’ needs and societal issues. We show how these tenets of value creation are manifest in crowdsourced policymaking by drawing on instances of crowdsourced lawmaking, and we also discuss the contingencies and challenges preventing value creation.

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