Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations
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Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations

Beyond Accession in Central and Eastern Europe

Edited by Agnes Batory, Andrew Cartwright and Diane Stone

Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations takes a policy studies perspective in considering post-communist EU member states’ experiences since accession. The book analyses policy transfer processes and expands the new and growing sub-field of policy failure by interrogating the binary ideas of ‘failure’ and ‘success’ in the context of the Central Eastern European (CEE) transition, democratic consolidation and European Union membership.
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Chapter 2: When does policy diffusion affect policy instability? Cases of excessive policy volatility in welfare policies in East Central Europe

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.

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