Micro-Dynamics and Macro-Effects
Edited by Magdaléna Hadjiisky, Leslie A. Pal and Christopher Walker
Chapter 1: Judicial reforms as a political enterprise: American transfer entrepreneurs in post-Communist Bulgaria
This chapter examines the transfer efforts made by American donors and operators in the policy field of judicial reforms. On the basis of a qualitative empirical study of a Bulgarian case (1989–2014), we highlight the political dimensions of policy transfer. These political aspect associated with the importing and exporting of institutional models highlights two crucial characteristics of international technical assistance. Firstly, in this case it is evident that the process aims to change the status and the role of the judicial system within Bulgarian society, and second, to achieve this the process of transfer involves directly interfering in the host countries’ processes of policy making as well as reform implementation. We show that American transfer agents demonstrate a significant capacity to influence Bulgarian judicial reforms, which rests on a number of key elements: the deployment of a decentralized, grassroots-oriented and bottom-up approach of judicial assistance; the ability to bring together technical and political prescriptions; the aptitude to produce detailed, accurate and usable expertise; and, finally, the capacity to create from scratch local agents of transfer and to build coalitions of political support around them. Keywords: Bulgaria, Europeanization, judicial system, judicial reform, development assistance, US foreign policy
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