This paper uses principal-agent theory to examine the structure of 'science in policy.' It draws from one in-depth case study of regulatory science in the USA, the production of the biennial Report on Carcinogens by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, particularly NTP's review of saccharin as a potential human carcinogen in the late 1990s. The sources of data include extensive documentary review, observation of two public meetings of an advisory committee to NTP, and confidential interviews with seven of nine members of that advisory committee. The paper elaborates on the environment that precipitated Congress's need for a reliable agent, in the creation of NTP as an intermediary to serve as that agent, in the articulation of an explicit set of terms for the performance of that contract, and in the shirking behavior that agents engaged in, despite such precautions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Public Administration
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law