Crowdsourcing the Policy Cycle

December 06, 2016 by John Prpić, Araz Taeihagh, James Melton

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Crowdsourcing is beginning to be used for policymaking. The “wisdom of crowds” [Surowiecki 2005], and crowdsourcing [Brabham 2008], are seen as new avenues that can shape all kinds of policy, from transportation policy [Nash 2009] to urban planning [Seltzer and Mahmoudi 2013], to climate policy. In general, many have high expectations for positive outcomes with crowdsourcing, and based on both anecdotal and empirical evidence, some of these expectations seem justified [Majchrzak and Malhotra 2013]. Yet, to our knowledge, research has yet to emerge that unpacks the different forms of crowdsourcing in light of each stage of the well-established policy cycle. This work addresses this research gap, and in doing so brings increased nuance to the application of crowdsourcing techniques for policymaking.