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Achim Kemmerling and Kristin Makszin

The recent literature on international policy diffusion and cross-border transfer mainly focuses on innovation and adoption of practices from abroad. But how sure are we that these transfers are stable over time? Whereas practitioners and academics are often concerned about too little change and political gridlock, problems of excessive policy change have received less attention. We define excessive policy change as a type of policy failure and ask how it is related to international policy diffusion. We investigate this relationship by looking at instances of (non-)reforms in welfare policies in Eastern Europe (including aspects of health, family, and pension policy). While not all cases of excessive policy change are due to diffusion and trans-border learning, we see that in many instances diffusion greatly contributed to the excessive policy volatility.