The introductory chapter provides a brief overview of the central questions that have inspired policy formulation research in the policy sciences. Distinguishing policy formulation as that activity in the policy process during which policy-makers craft solutions for identified problems, the chapter depicts public policies as being, in essence, government efforts to affect changes in their own or in public behaviour. Formulation is portrayed in this chapter as the result of an interplay of knowledge-based analytics and power-based politics as governments act on articulating feasible policy options to meet social goals, resulting in complex assemblages of policy aims and policy means that are unique to each jurisdiction. The chapter also explains the organizational logic behind how the contributions of this Handbook have been organized.
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Michael Howlett and Ishani Mukherjee
Thierry Delpeuch and Margarita Vassileva
This chapter examines the transfer efforts made by American donors and operators in the policy field of judicial reforms. On the basis of a qualitative empirical study of a Bulgarian case (1989–2014), we highlight the political dimensions of policy transfer. These political aspect associated with the importing and exporting of institutional models highlights two crucial characteristics of international technical assistance. Firstly, in this case it is evident that the process aims to change the status and the role of the judicial system within Bulgarian society, and second, to achieve this the process of transfer involves directly interfering in the host countries’ processes of policy making as well as reform implementation. We show that American transfer agents demonstrate a significant capacity to influence Bulgarian judicial reforms, which rests on a number of key elements: the deployment of a decentralized, grassroots-oriented and bottom-up approach of judicial assistance; the ability to bring together technical and political prescriptions; the aptitude to produce detailed, accurate and usable expertise; and, finally, the capacity to create from scratch local agents of transfer and to build coalitions of political support around them. Keywords: Bulgaria, Europeanization, judicial system, judicial reform, development assistance, US foreign policy