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Christopher Walker

This chapter provides a comparative case analysis of collaborative policy transfer and explores factors that influence the manner in which engagement is structured and organised. Discussion considers the arenas, agents and actions that support the circulation of policy ideas, their adaptation and translation into new locations. The chapter identifies five underlying features that are characteristic of the voluntary and collaborative uptake of circulating policy ideas. The findings note that a shared interest in a particular policy challenge is central to initiating and sustaining collaborative processes, and stemming from this the development of enduring relations between key advocates and champions of transfer is likely to strengthen the chances of successful policy transfer. The case studies highlight that collaborative engagement can range from formal to informal mechanisms of interaction, successful processes effectively link with local policy-making systems, and the effect of collaborative transfer is to strengthen the overall capacity for policy analysis and critique.

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Christopher Walker

This chapter examines a policy program of voluntary self-regulation developed and implemented in the Australian road transport sector that has been transferred and modified for implementation into South Africa. In the Australian context the policy is a state initiative and operates with significant state support. On transfer into the South African context, the programme has been modified and is predominantly industry operated receiving limited state support. In this case study we observe policy transfer that is characterised as state to market rather than the traditional notions of government to government transmission. The research primarily draws on qualitative data obtained from interviews with industry participants and public officials from regulatory and policy agencies in South Africa. This comparative study draws attention to both state and market factors that shape policy transfer and policy implementation. The study shows how regulatory policy is refined and redeveloped as the newly implementing state makes adjustments for local circumstances, state capacity and market forces, and aims to improve on the regulatory outcomes achieved by the initiating state. This case study highlights the role of neoliberalism in reshaping policy programmes through processes of transfer, redevelopment and implementation. The analysis reveals how the transferred policy model aims to significantly draw on industry resources and market participants to help deliver regulatory goals with minimal state engagement; a response that aims to compensate for weaker state institutional structures that characterize the adopting jurisdiction. Finally, the analysis provides insight into policy adaptations that result from the transfer process and examines how these innovations might be transferred back to the originating jurisdiction through feedback loops of learning and ongoing interaction. Keywords: voluntary self-regulation, road transport, compliance, South Africa, Australia, trucking, regulation

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Tom Baker and Christopher Walker

Contemporary policy work is deeply informed by the circulation of policy initiatives and models from other jurisdictions. Sometimes close and at other times distant, the influence of various ‘elsewheres’ (Allen and Cochrane, 2007) has become a routine feature of the policy process. Researchers from a range of academic disciplines have matched the increased traffic of policy knowledge with a growing body of knowledge that seeks to document and understand it. While political scientists have the longest history of engagement with travelling policy, anthropologists, geographers, sociologists, urban planners and other social scientists have joined the fray in recent years, creating a lively multidisciplinary research effort (Benson and Jordan, 2011; McCann and Ward, 2012). Yet, for the most part, this research effort has been disjointed. Despite having a common interest at their core (the movement of policy), there are largely separate conversations occurring, structured around concepts such as policy diffusion, policy learning, policy transfer and policy mobility. These conversations have ‘lived together apart’ for some time now, but appear to be converging toward a focus on diverse arenas, agents and actions implicated in the circulation of policy. We have also seen shifts from structure–agency binaries to notions of contextually-embedded agency, from neat, spatially and temporally delimited processes to messy, ongoing processes, and from an exclusive interest in the ‘why’ of travelling policy to a broader set of research questions regarding the ‘how’. In this book we use ‘policy circulation’ as an expedient umbrella term that signifies this emergent zone of common ground.

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Public Policy Circulation

Arenas, Agents and Actions

Edited by Tom Baker and Christopher Walker

Policy-making is more globally connected than ever before. Policy ideas, experiences and expertise circulate with great speed and over great distances. But who is involved in moving policy, how do they do it, and through which arenas? This book examines the work involved in policy circulation. As the first genuinely interdisciplinary collection on policy circulation, the book showcases theoretical approaches from across the social sciences—including policy diffusion, transfer and mobility—and offers empirical perspectives from across the world.
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Magdaléna Hadjiisky, Leslie A. Pal and Christopher Walker

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Magdaléna Hadjiisky, Leslie A. Pal and Christopher Walker

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Public Policy Transfer

Micro-Dynamics and Macro-Effects

Edited by Magdaléna Hadjiisky, Leslie A. Pal and Christopher Walker

Contemporary policy making is deeply influenced by the borrowing, transfer and diffusion of ideas and models from other countries, levels of government and supranational institutions. This is the first book to analyze comparatively the micro-dynamics of transfer across regions, contrasting policy fields, multiple levels of governance, and institutional actors. Grounded in original research by specialists in the field, it provides fresh and arresting insights into competition among transfer agents, resistances, local coalitions, translation, and policy learning. This empirical depth informs a reinvigorated and nuanced theoretical framework on global policy transfer processes.
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Tom Baker, Mauricio I. Dussauge-Laguna, Roosa Jolkkonen, Olga Löblová, Pauline McGuirk, Sergio Montero, Michelle Morais de Sá e Silva, Alexandru Rusu, Titilayo Soremi, Jennifer Spence, Christopher Walker and Astrid Wood

Like philosophy, the study of policy circulation has become pluralistic and we too are faced with the question of how best to respond to such pluralism. This chapter, and the book it summarises along the way, offers one way forward. First, the chapter discusses a range of possibilities open to scholars of policy circulation in grappling with the plurality of their research field. Inspired by recent discussions in other heterodox fields of social scientific research, we argue that, to date, policy circulation studies have often been fragmented under the labels of policy diffusion, transfer, learning or mobilities. This exemplifies a form of ‘fragmenting pluralism’ that falls short of proper dialogic interaction across different research traditions and disciplines (Dolowitz and Marsh, 2012; McCann and Ward, 2012) and, indeed, often becomes an obstacle to advance knowledge on the what, how and why of policy circulation (Dussauge-Laguna, 2012; Cook, 2015). Following Bernstein (1989), we suggest that consciously embarking on a collegiate project of ‘engaged pluralism’ offers one route to a trans-disciplinary, not simply multi-disciplinary, research endeavour. Second, the chapter discusses the practices involved in creating the ‘trading zones’ (Barnes and Sheppard, 2010) through which engaged pluralism might take root in policy circulation studies, including a commitment to intellectual openness, the creation of venues for dialogue, and the (de/re)construction of coordinating concepts. We recount the circumstances involved in the creation of this book as a humble, and in many ways accidental, example of such practices.