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  • Series: New Horizons in Public Policy series x
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Analysis and Public Policy

Successes, Failures and Directions for Reform

Stuart Shapiro

How do we incorporate analytical thinking into public policy decisions? Stuart Shapiro confronts this issue in Analysis and Public Policy by looking at various types of analysis, and discussing how they are used in regulatory policy-making in the US. By looking at the successes and failures of incorporating cost-benefit analysis, risk assessment, and environmental impact assessment, he draws broader lessons on its use, focusing on the interactions between analysis and political factors, legal structures and bureaucratic organizations as possible areas for reform.
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Jennifer Spence

Twitter is a social media tool that is used by a diverse array of actors for a boundless variety of purposes. In particular, Twitter has attracted attention as a fast and potentially powerful means for politicians, governments and other actors to communicate policy positions. But is Twitter just a mouthpiece to broadcast policy statements or does it offer a new arena for the circulation of policy ideas? This chapter examines the network of people using Twitter to exchange information and ideas about Arctic development over a one-year period (March 2016 to March 2017) to better understand Twitter as an arena for policy circulation. This chapter uses Social Network Analysis (SNA) to visualise the characteristics of this network and examine who is using Twitter to exchange ideas about Arctic development policy, what policy issues are being discussed and to what extent this network is structured to facilitate the flow of policy ideas.

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Tom Baker and Pauline McGuirk

Why does policy tourism remain a popular and influential method of policy circulation in an age of information abundance? Framed by a case study of homelessness policy tourism to New York City, this chapter suggests that policy tourism remains popular because it allows for (1) thinking outside the everyday strictures of the bureaucratic workplace; (2) the development of associational bonds between policy tourists, and between tourists and hosts; (3) the verification of information; and (4) the legitimation of decisions/positions. Noting the powerful influence that tourist encounters have on policy tourists, the chapter then discusses the production of authenticity. The chapter calls for greater attention to the active and affective production of authenticity as a means to better understand policy tourism and its significant impact on policy circulation.

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Michelle Morais de Sá e Silva

The practice of South–South cooperation for the purpose of policy transfer has received great political interest and priority in recent years. However, some public policies have had greater success than others in circulating among countries of the geopolitical South. In this framework, this chapter approaches the South as a relevant arena and, in doing so, looks into existing enablers and barriers to policy circulation. Of particular interest for this research are the role of international organisations and the effect of participatory and coordination-based policy features. Three cases are compared in which Brazil shared some of its human rights policy models with Guinea Bissau and Cuba.

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Roosa Jolkkonen

Big philanthropic foundations constitute prominent agents of transnational policy circulation, furthering new approaches to policy formation and delivery in the context of development. This chapter presents a case study on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest representative and driver of contemporary philanthropy in development. The chapter explores the comparative advantages and distinct limitations experienced by philanthropic donors as policy suppliers and identifies the particular approaches to policy circulation deployed by the Gates Foundation in the global development community and one of its aid-receiving countries, Tanzania. The findings offer valuable insights on the unique factors hampering and facilitating policy circulation by big philanthropies as well as their sources and uses of power as transnational policy agents.

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Astrid Wood

Building upon the debates around travelling policy and the precipitous imitation of bus rapid transit (BRT), this chapter unravels the multiple and overlapping roles global intermediaries perform in the circulation of knowledge. The chapter takes a multi-disciplinary perspective on intermediaries presenting the plurality of viewpoints from political science, communications, science and technology studies and geography. It then applies these understandings to the case of BRT to understand the business of global intermediaries in the promotion of BRT. The chapter discusses how these global intermediaries create and sustain a process whereby learning is deliberate and methodical but never-ending and unhurried. Such analyses contribute to a more critical understanding of BRT by situating it within a wider process of peripatetic policymaking and politics, and in so doing, explains why certain transport paradigms are elevated and esteemed while others are snubbed.

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Alexandru Rusu and Olga Löblová

Policy transfer failure is an understudied topic as literature tends to overemphasise successful examples of policy circulation. However, failure is as much a part of public policy as success and it is far from being the end of the story. In fact, the initial failure to reach a preferred policy objective will take its toll on the agents of transfer as well as on the policy itself. This chapter explores failed and partial policy transfer by focusing on the activities of its agents. It shows how the behaviour and choices of epistemic communities affect the fate of the circulated policy following an initial failure to push through their policy projects. The empirical basis for our analysis is the case of Health Technology Assessment (HTA) in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), a region where HTA has been met with varying degrees of interest, resulting in varieties of non-adoption and partial adoption.

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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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Mauricio I. Dussauge-Laguna

Much of the policy transfer literature has focused on discussing whether and how policymakers learn from abroad. However, less attention has been paid to the actions agents devise to ensure lessons, policies, models or insights gathered from other national experiences become durable policy changes in their own jurisdictions. This chapter argues that agents use ‘policy building’ strategies and ‘policy institutionalisation’ strategies. The former relates to the continuous process of (re)designing policy elements, including the establishment of favourable implementation conditions. The latter mainly focuses on taking care of political and long-term policy sustainability issues. The theoretical and conceptual ideas of the chapter, as well as the typology it proposes, have been inductively developed from a broader research project about the transfer of Management for Results (MfR) policies into Chile and Mexico.

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Sergio Montero

Bogotá has become a sustainable urban transport reference for many cities around the world, both in the global North and the South. This chapter shows that the rapid and global circulation of Bogotá’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system Transmilenio and car-free programme Ciclov'a is related to the existence of a set of experts who have persuaded mayors and local leaders around the world to adopt these policies in their home cities rather than to the technical merits of the policies themselves. These experts were able to enact persuasion thanks to a powerful – yet simplified – narrative that linked Bogotá’s urban transformation to these transport policies; a set of artefacts, including videos, photographs and moving quotes, that connected local leaders with the policies in an emotional way; and the building of policy ‘buzz’ and trust between these experts and local leaders that was facilitated through face-to-face encounters in conferences. Thus, the chapter reveals how the mobilisation of simplified stories of urban transformation and development are key actions behind the global circulation of urban policies; how policy learning is not exclusively a rational process but rather one influenced by emotional connection; and how conferences and policy forums are still important arenas where persuasion is enacted.