In Episode 19 of Business Diplomacy Today, host Matthias Catón is joined by Vera Axyonova, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie REWIRE Fellow at the University of Vienna and Principal Investigator of the project ‘Expert Knowledge in Times of Crisis – Uncovering Interaction Effects between Think Tanks, Media, and Politics’. Vera shares her expertise on the influence that experts and think-tanks can have on policy- and decision-making, specifically in hybrid and non-democratic regimes.
Beginning with definitions of think-tanks and their influence on policy, Vera and Matthias delve into how these organizations and experts operate in different political environments. Vera specifically contextualizes these ideas with Russia and the reporting of events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change through her research on the topic; and demonstrates that, in some cases, think-tanks actively transmit certain policy ideas provided by the state.
Matthias and Vera further discuss the various factors which can influence information published by think-tanks; such as local regulations in the case of transnational think-tanks, the influence of donors and funders and the establishment of international expert networks to transfer policy solutions and options.
With the fast spread of news and information and the importance of distinguishing between ‘misinformation’ and ‘disinformation’, this episode is a must listen for those interested in analyzing how we receive knowledge and the influence this knowledge holds. For business leaders and senior executives, Matthias and Vera recognize the role corporate think-tanks can inform market access and entry.
About the guest
Vera Axyonova is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie REWIRE Fellow at the University of Vienna and Principal Investigator of the project ‘Expert Knowledge in Times of Crisis – Uncovering Interaction Effects between Think Tanks, Media, and Politics’.
In this project, she examines how knowledge about crises is produced and communicated by expert professionals in political settings beyond consolidated liberal democracies, how political and societal actors use this knowledge, and how much influence it has on policymaking.
Before joining the University of Vienna, Vera had various roles in research, science management, and policy consulting. She was the Managing Director of “Academics in Solidarity” at Freie Universität Berlin and worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher and Assistant Professor at Justus Liebig University Giessen. Vera was also a Hurford Next Generation Fellow with the Carnegie Endowment’s Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative and is the founding co-chair of the ECPR Research Network on Statehood, Sovereignty, and Conflict.
Executive Briefing – what you should read now
- Abelson, D.E. (ed.) (2021) Handbook on Think Tanks in Public Policy
- Pielke, R.A. (2007) The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics