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A Study of Organisational Adaptation

Peter Carroll and Aynsley Kellow

The book reveals, for the first time, the origins, growth and complex role of the OECD as it celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, showing how it has adapted – for the most part successfully – to the changing needs of its members, both large and small.
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Chapter 9: Accession and Policy Transfer

Peter Carroll and Aynsley Kellow


One of the principal sources of value in the OECD lies in the influence it has on the policies of its members and those countries with which it interacts. As it serves as a means of identifying and sharing what it regards as best practice, its role in policy transfer demands attention. Much of that influence comes from the persuasiveness of the ideas and concepts it develops. For example, the ‘polluter pays’ principle has spread well beyond the membership of the OECD, and the bribery convention has spread to the wider UN system. A major and neglected mechanism of policy transfer comes about through the accession of new members, as they take on the acquis of the Organisation, although (as we shall see) this process is not necessarily total in its impact. The aims of this chapter are to examine the experience of accession and to throw further light on this somewhat neglected dimension of policy transfer, which takes place during the process of accession to IOs. The first part of the chapter provides a brief discussion of accession, the definitions of the key terms used and a simple model of the accession process that is used to structure the analysis. We then examine, in turn, the OECD’s experience of three stages of accession and policy transfer, pre-accession, accession and post-accession transfer. It does not include an examination of the accession experiences of the most recent members, Chile, Estonia, Slovenia and Israel, as the relevant documentation is not yet available....

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