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

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Presentation on theme: "Week 7.1 Policy Transfer, Policy Learning, Policy Convergence, Policy Diffusion."— Presentation transcript:

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)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: 1.If the policy is unique or based on inimitable conditions/ organisations 2.Political structures – e.g. note assumption of federal welfare policy that state/ local levels will supplement action 3.Resources to implement (and capacity – e.g. private sector) 4.Simplicity of policy with clear cause/effect 5.Knowledge gathered of policy and likely outcomes 6.Interdependence (Wales; Scotland and fur) 7.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 D&M 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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