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Week 7.1 Policy Transfer, Policy Learning, Policy Convergence, Policy Diffusion.

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Title: Week 7.1 Policy Transfer, Policy Learning, Policy Convergence, Policy Diffusion.


1
Week 7.1 Policy Transfer, Policy Learning,
Policy Convergence, Policy Diffusion.

2
Summary of previous lectures
  • Biggest constraint on change is existing policy
    and power relations underpinning policy agreement
  • Policy problems are produced/ framed, not
    selected
  • Policy may be incremental with long periods of
    stability
  • Comprehensive rationality assumption of central
    actor undermined by MLG discussion
  • But potential for short bursts of intense
    policy attention and change.

3
What is Policy Transfer?
  • Refers to the evidence for - and causes of -
    similarities in policy across regions.
  • Can policy change be explained by a rational
    process of policy learning across states?
  • Under what conditions?
  • Or is the process inseparable from the wider
    political process?

4
What Is It? Convergence
  • Starting point is evidence of similarities across
    countries policy goals, content, instruments,
    outcomes and/ or styles.
  • It could mean independent problem solving based
    on parallel domestic pressures
  • But Bennet suggests not calling this
    convergence
  • Term suggests moving towards similarity

5
Policy Learning (Rose)
  • Lesson-drawing across time (i.e. own experience)
    then bigger focus across space (other regions)
  • Extent of learning varies
  • Negative lessons also learned
  • E.g. BSE countries learned from UKs mistakes

6
Policy Transfer
  • Umbrella term with overarching definition the
    process by which knowledge about policies,
    administrative arrangements, institutions and
    ideas in one political system (past or present)
    is used in the development of policies,
    administrative arrangements, institutions and
    ideas in another political system (Dolowitz and
    Marsh)
  • Learning is one type of transfer (voluntary)

7
Policy Diffusion
  • Suggests more passive process?
  • Refers to similar adoptions of policy without
    evidence of emulation? (link)
  • Associated with analysis of US states
  • Note that a precise definition of all 4 is
    elusive.
  • Differences may not be significant (bar e.g.
    learning as a voluntary subset of transfer)

8
Who Does It?
  • Usual Suspects within political systems -
    elected officials, political parties,
    bureaucrats/ civil servants, pressure groups,
    etc.
  • Policy entrepreneurs consultants/ experts
    selling best practice (often inappropriately),
    NGOs, international policy communities and
    professionalisation
  • Supra-national institutions EU, OECD, World
    Bank, UN. Note that national governments can
    perform this role with devolved authorities.
  • Note importance of exporting (e.g. US) and
    importing regions (e.g. UK) although this can
    change (also NB within UK)

9
Why Transfer - Is it Voluntary?
  • Remember the broader questions within political
    systems why change policy? Who decides? Who
    influences?
  • These questions traditionally from within
  • Additional discussion of the role of (external or
    internal) coercion
  • Dolowitz and Marsh continuum of transfer

10
  • Voluntary transfer following dissatisfaction
    with policy or a natural tendency to look abroad.
  • A rational process?
  • Note that transfer search can be used to
    legitimise existing policy.
  • Direct Coercive transfer borrowing country
    influenced (effectively forced?) to adopt a
    policy.
  • Role of World Bank in developing countries, but
    also EU in Europe. Influence of MNCs on
    regulations.
  • Indirect Coercive transfer voluntary but driven
    by perceived need for region B to change policy
    because
  • Region A is an important market for exports,
  • They have a close working relationship,
  • There is a need to keep up.
  • Region As policies may also cause externalities
    a factor for Canada (US) and Wales (England).

11
Policy Transfer Continuum
12
Discussion of continuum
  • Transfer may contain voluntary and coercive
    elements (implementation/ discretion?)
  • Perceived need varies and is subject to internal
    political processes
  • Appearance of coercion may help governments
    introduce unpopular policies

13
What is Transferred?
  • Policy goals, structure and content
  • Policy instruments or administrative techniques
    Institutions
  • Ideology Attitudes Ideas
  • Negative Lessons?
  • Note that policies can be transferred even if
    ideology is different (e.g. Patient choice)
  • Does it matter if the same policy outcomes are
    caused by different processes? (e.g. UK tobacco)

14
Degrees of Transfer - Rose
  • Complete duplication only possible if similar
    starting points within countries (e.g. US states)
  • Adaptation taking different laws/
    administration into account (NB cut-and-paste/
    Scottish example)
  • Making a hybrid from borrowing and lending
    countries
  • Synthesis of one or more programmes (eg new
    countries and electoral systems)
  • Broad inspiration
  • Repackaging?

15
Bear in mind
  • Loose boundaries between categories
  • All elements can be contained in one policy area
  • Single transfer or over period of years
  • Note extent of change regardless of transfer.
    Effect of transfer is total minus that which
    would have happened? E.g. if looking for
    practical help rather than solution.

16
From Where Are Lessons Drawn?
  • Learning from the past in ones own region, then
    others
  • Lessons likely to be drawn from other regions if
    there are shared policy conditions (particularly
    economic conditions)
  • On geographical grounds (although proximity
    subject to choice and technological advance?)
  • If there is a shared ideology (although remember
    Wales)

17
Attempt of and success of transfer affected by
range of factors
  • If the policy is unique or based on inimitable
    conditions/ organisations
  • Political structures e.g. note assumption of
    federal welfare policy that state/ local levels
    will supplement action
  • Resources to implement (and capacity e.g.
    private sector)
  • Simplicity of policy with clear cause/effect
  • Knowledge gathered of policy and likely outcomes
  • Interdependence (Wales Scotland and fur)
  • When ideology/ values of importer/ exporter
    coincide
  • Note links to rationality, incrementalism and
    implementation studies

18
Policy Transfer and Failure
  • Discussion of implementation and policy failure
    qualifies idea of coercion e.g. with the EU
    there is discretion to implement directives.
    There is power to coerce national governments but
    how far down the line does this extend? (e.g. of
    WTD and doctors)
  • Dolowitz and Marsh discuss failure in a different
    sense with 3 (non mutually exclusive) aspects
    (example of CSA). Note the links to rationality
    and implementation

19
  • Uninformed transfer the borrowing country has
    incomplete information on key elements of success
    in lending country (e.g. the length of time to
    phase in policy the role of the courts in
    pressure release and ensuring discretion)
  • Incomplete transfer when those key elements are
    not transferred
  • Inappropriate transfer when not enough
    attention is paid to adaptation and/ or the
    original policy aims of the exporter e.g.
    addressing those in arrears rather than focussing
    on those who could afford to pay (to reduce PSBR)

20
Summary of previous lectures
  • Biggest constraint on change is existing policy
    and power relations underpinning policy agreement
  • Policy problems are produced/ framed, not
    selected
  • Policy may be incremental with long periods of
    stability
  • Comprehensive rationality assumption of central
    actor undermined by MLG discussion
  • But potential for short bursts of intense
    policy attention and change.

21
Agenda-setting links to Transfer
  • Important to look at source for new ideas, but
    these are subject to the same processes as any
    other policy
  • Lessons are not just there they are subject
    to framing when reported (e.g. success of smoking
    ban in Ireland?).
  • The focus of lessons (e.g. which countries are
    worthy of the effort?) is subject to competition/
    selection
  • The pressure to learn will depend on the position
    of an issue on the policy agenda

22
Incrementalism links to Transfer
  • Incrementalism focus of learning restricted to
    most similar regions? Other searches unrealistic
    given scope for radical change.
  • Governments learn from own mistakes and make
    small adjustments. Outside searches are
    therefore not automatic
  • Level of path dependence in transfer (e.g. Japan
    studied police in Germany after importing law and
    local government)

23
MLG links
  • Adoption of policy in one level dependent on
    cooperation with another?
  • Does harmonisation take place at central
    government level or sub-sectoral policy community
    level based on expertise?
  • Example of harmonisation of clinical methods
    fostered by clinical links? (Although note role
    of e.g. Nice)
  • Devolution makes measurement of transfer tricky
    potential to vary by policy area and level of
    government

24
Punctuated equilibrium links
  • Lessons from elsewhere may be a powerful tool to
    challenge existing policy monopolies
  • MLG link if case unsuccessful at one level of
    government it can be pursued at higher level and
    then transferred

25
Issues with transfer literature
  • Can we distinguish these issues from broader
    literature?
  • Definition of transfer/ lesson drawing is so
    broad is it measurable?
  • How is transfer demonstrated?
  • Can we explain transfer without the transfer
    literature?

26
Confusion of rational and voluntary?
  • Dolowitz and Marshs Why Transfer continuum
    conflates 2 discussions of policy change
  • Policy transfer can be entirely voluntary but not
    rational
  • Note example of WFTC in notes (outdated
    information)
  • Bounded rationality does not necessarily suggest
    coercion
  • Note that DM use it to mean a perceived need to
    e.g. keep up. Maybe this means pressure for
    change and less time to learn?
  • Surely this is different type of coercion than
    exerted by e.g. World Bank?

27
Who is coerced?
  • E.g. imagine 2 advocacy coalitions one
    voluntary approach to tobacco, one public health
  • Public health replaces voluntary as dominant
    coalition and successfully achieves policy change
  • Is the government coerced? Surely depends on
    which coalition key decision-makers were part of?
    Or did they act as a referee selecting policy on
    basis of new evidence?
  • Are we talking about coercion in terms of needing
    to address an issue/ make a decision rather than
    the decision itself?

28
Final note value of transfer?
  • Context for domestic decision-making
  • Challenges temptation to view policy change only
    in domestic context
  • Key question in any policy discussion was
    transfer involved?
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