Policy transfer: attempt for new classification and synthesis with policy change framework

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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi state university, Faculty of social and political sciences
Nowadays, policy transfer has become an integral part of the policy-making process (Dolowitz and Marsh, 2000). However, lesson-drawing has always been a character of earlier societies and states, due to globalization and mass communication, the issue of policy transfer has become the scope for both academics and decision-makers (Stone, 2010; 2012). It can be explained by the fact that it is linked to the policy-making process and ties with economic and socio-cultural issues, so scholars from different disciplines are interested in it. On the other hand, decision-makers and policy consultants see policy transfer as a lesson that to be taken into account to plan further plans. The academic literature on policy transfer has been summarized several times (Dolowitz and Marsh, 1996; 2000; 2012; Stone, 1999; 2004; 2012; Evans and Davis, 1991; James and Lodge, 2003; Evans 2004; 2009; Benson and Jordan, 2011; Dussage-Laguna, 2012). Authors focus on different issues and assess the heritage of the concept, the new directions in the field and propose further developments. It is noteworthy that discussion on policy transfer is rather theoretical than practical grounded with empirical evidence (Evans, 2006; Dussage-Laguna, 2012). The paper aims to summarize academic literature on policy transfer, critically reflect on the theoretical and empirical challenges and develop new directions that are crucial for both theoretically and practically. In particular, it presented the attempt for a new classification of literature on policy transfer. Instead of dividing authors on the basis of using or not using the term (classification of Dolowitz and Marsh (1996); Dussage-Laguna (2012)), we developed the two possible alternatives. Firstly, “variable dilemma” and from this point of view, publications can be divided into three parts: policy transfer as an independent variable; an an dependent variable and as both - independent and dependent variable. Also, the second alternatives relates to dichotomous classification, in particular, supporters and opponents of Dolowitz and Marsh‟s (1996) heuristic approach. In addition, the paper also includes the synthesis of policy transfer and policy change approaches: the ways are defined how policy transfer, as an independent variable, can be used with the three major and well-known paradigms (Punctuated Equilibrium Approach, Multiple Stream Approach and Policy subsystem) of policy change. The given attempt gives an opportunity to answer major challenges (including close-cycled and over-theoretical approach) that academic literature shows. Moreover, the new classification and synthesis with policy change try to maintain and develop new directions in the field that would be followed by interpretation of data from empirically conducted research and then, further develop or revise the thesis stated in the paper.
policy transfer, policy change, classification of literature, synthesis