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Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xxxv
Transnational Public Administration: Imperatives, Dilemmas and Opportunities (Tim Legrand)....Pages 1-21
The Global Laboratory: Approaches to Theorising Policy Transfer (Tim Legrand)....Pages 23-69
Theorising the Architecture of Transgovernmental Policy Networks (Tim Legrand)....Pages 71-105
Political-Cultural Propinquity in the Anglosphere (Tim Legrand)....Pages 107-128
The Third Way and the Landscape of Welfare Reform: Australia, UK and USA (Tim Legrand)....Pages 129-159
Agents of Transgovernmental Policy Transfer (Tim Legrand)....Pages 161-191
The Genesis of Transgovernmental Networks (Tim Legrand)....Pages 193-216
Back Matter ....Pages 217-232
STUDIES IN THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF PUBLIC POLICY
The Architecture of Policy Transfer Ideas, Institutions and Networks in Transnational Policymaking Tim Legrand
Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy
Series Editors Toby Carroll City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong, Hong Kong Paul Cammack University of Manchester Manchester, UK Kelly Gerard The University of Western Australia Crawley, Australia Darryl S. L. Jarvis The Education University of Hong Kong Hong Kong, Hong Kong
More information about this series at http://www.palgrave.com/gp/series/14465
The Architecture of Policy Transfer Ideas, Institutions and Networks in Transnational Policymaking
Tim Legrand University of Adelaide Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
ISSN 2524-7441 ISSN 2524-745X (electronic) Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy ISBN 978-3-030-55820-8 ISBN 978-3-030-55821-5 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55821-5 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland
For my grandparents, Mike and Phyllis Legrand. Heavens to Mergatroyd!
This book is as much a diary as it is a monograph, for it chronicles a substantial part of my scholarly journey over the past ten years. Back in 2009, it seemed to me that, having completed my Ph.D., my attention to the esoterica of policy transfer theory was unlikely to continue in the absence of a scholarly appointment, and my sights had turned towards a career in the civil service where I intended to make my mark at the applied end of public policy development. An unlikely but timely intervention by Professor Simon Bronitt, to whom I am indebted, brought me to a research fellowship at Griffith University to reignite my research in policy transfer, and the journey has continued unabated ever since. At the Australian National University, where much of this book was researched and written between 2012 and 2018, I held appointments at the National Security College, the Crawford School of Public Policy, the School of Regulatory Networks and the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health. Most recently, I have landed in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Adelaide. In the lengthy process of researching and writing, I have racked up more than a few debts—some scholarly, many emotional—for which acknowledgement is necessary albeit scant repayment. The research contributing to this book was accumulated during my time in the various limbs of the ANU above, where I remain indebted to Gabrielle Bammer, Roger Bradbury, Michael Clarke, Carsten Daugbjerg, Michael L’Estrange, Adam Graycar, Adam Henschke, Jennifer Hunt, Adrian Kay and Matthew Sussex. Public administration being a remarkably collegial discipline, I have had the good fortune of making many friends of vii
colleagues across the world, who have been instrumental in nurturing and guiding the ideas expressed here, prominently: Caner Bakır, Melissa-Ellen Dowling, Claire Dunlop, Jenny Lewis, Paul Fawcett, Lisa Hill, Lee Jarvis, Michael Lister, Siobhan O’Sullivan and Diane Stone. Earlier forms of the research that appears here have been published in journals, and so I would like to thank those journal editors and peer reviewers for their feedback along the way, and I acknowledge their publishers for permission to reproduce these works and their arguments thus: An earlier version of the arguments in Chapters 3 and 4 was published as an article under the title: ‘Overseas and Over Here: Policy Transfer and Evidence-Based Policy-Making’. The final definitive version of this paper has been published in Policy Studies, 33(4), 329–348, published by Taylor & Francis. Reprinted with permission. An earlier version of arguments in the Chapter 3 and the Conclusion was published as an article under the title: ‘Transgovernmental Policy Networks in the Anglosphere’. The final definitive version of this paper has been published in Public Administration. 93(4), 973–991, published by Wiley. Reprinted with permission. An earlier version of arguments in Chapter 7 was published as an article under the title: ‘The Merry Mandarins of Windsor: Policy Transfer and Transgovernmental Networks in the Anglosphere’. The final definitive version of this paper has been published in Policy Studies, 33(6), 523–540, published by Taylor & Francis. Reprinted with permission. I would like to thank the supremely patient and professional shepherding of this book’s author and publication by Nick Barclay, Oliver Foster, and Balaji Varadharaju at Palgrave Macmillan. My thanks also to Hibra Qureshi for her assistance in proofing the manuscript. I am also grateful to the series editors of Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy for accepting this book into its prestigious collection of scholarly works. Finally, I would like to warmly acknowledge the love and support of my family, and especially my Mum, Louise. As well as being a wonderful researcher and writer in her own right, she has been at times transcriber of my research interviews and at other times a patient copyeditor too. Above all else, she has been a brilliant Mum.
The COVID-19 pandemic that tore through states across the world in 2019 and 2020 was a stark reminder to governments of the inextricable interdependencies and co-dependencies that characterise today’s global society. National officials were confronted with a health, societal and economic catastrophe on a scale unseen since the Spanish Flu of 1918. Compounding the crisis, in the frantic search for effective policies to contain the worst social, health and economic effects of the pandemic, the World Health Organisation was widely held to have failed to establish authoritative global strategy to manage the outbreak, leaving governments bereft of expert, external leadership on an issue of profound global governance at a time where the need for policy learning was at its most urgent. Amidst the bedlam, chief finance ministers of a small group of five states quietly worked together to learn from one another’s management of the pandemic’s effects on their economies. In an interview with The Australian on June 8th 2020, the Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the meeting of finance ministers of Canada, New Zealand, the UK and USA: These meetings will be an opportunity to swap notes about the various domestic economic initiatives each country is undertaking in response to the crisis. In this increasingly inter–connected global economy, it will also be critical that we co-ordinate policies to ensure global financial stability and a strong, sustainable and balanced economic recovery. ix
The meetings were reported as an offshoot of ‘countries in the Five Eyes pact’,1 or more colloquially known as the Anglosphere countries (more on that later), but in reality the relationship between the five countries had long since flourished beyond the intelligence and security partnership that emerged in the early years of the Cold War. In the previous year, July 2019, the Home Affairs Ministers and Attorneys General from the same five countries met in London for a high-level summit. In the joint communique issued at the culmination of the meeting, the participating officials committed to ‘Share frameworks and tools between the Five Countries on managing residual risk’ and to use their collective bargaining power to influence international organisations such as the International Civil Aviation Organisation and United Nations. The same communique made special reference to their shared identity: We reaffirm today the critical importance of the Five Country partnership. Bound by our history of cooperation, united by our shared values, and strengthened by our enduring friendship, we pledge the commitments made today as we seek to share opportunities and address security challenges together.
Their purpose was to agree a common set of policies between the five states on global challenges they collectively and separately faced: Internet safety measures, child exploitation, online encryption, national security and counter-terrorism. All issues affecting the countries separately and jointly as dilemmas of the global agora. There are two puzzles prompted by the examples described above. First, why did the ministers of these states decide to form their own policy group, why not simply learn from or collaborate with the best examples of policy-making, no matter the country of origin? After all, there are many other countries that prima facie have systems of public management just as sophisticated and as capable as any of these five. Second, why these five countries specifically? Answering these two questions is the purpose of this book, but the short answer should not be a surprise: the strength of national identity on policy collaboration (see Chapter 4) is a theme that becomes apparent in the pages that follow, in which we see more than a few hints of something fundamental in the policy mindset or policy settings, perhaps more meaningful, in how officials of this select group of states interact with one other to the exclusion of others. The examples also call to our attention
the point that domestic policy-making is no longer a parochial, unilateral matter (if it ever was). Contemporary policy-making is an endeavour that must have one eye on the soil and another on the heavens, for the state is more globalised now than ever before. The spillover effects of trade, pandemics and security threats are very real, but so too are global policy trends: collaboration with and learning from the successful experiences of officials overseas is increasingly becoming the rule, not the exception.
A Global Public Policy Revolution Governments around the world are in the throes of a public policy revolution. Never before have state officials had such immediate and expansive access to the policy outcomes and experiences of overseas counterparts. Digital technologies are steadily overcoming the frictions of time, distance and communication, making it easier and faster for officials, agencies and states to not only collect data and evaluate policy effectiveness, but to share that knowledge, acquire new policy ideas from elsewhere and collaborate across borders to ameliorate shared problems. The incipient rise of a ‘digital era governance’ (Dunleavy et al. 2006) has made more possible than ever cross-border policy collaboration in transgovernmental networks. In these networks, policy officials gain ready access to policyrelevant experience from overseas peers and coordinate their actions on the global stage to address collective action problems spanning borders. Paired with an increasing abundance of policy-relevant evidence, expert advice, ‘big data’ and surging computational power, a new epoch of international policy transfer is imminent, if it has not already commenced. So it is that seemingly successful government initiatives spread rapidly to other parts of the world. Paul Cairney (2009) traces how prohibitions on smoking in public places were initially a matter of local and city provisions, until 2003 when New Zealand introduced the first national legislation. Ireland and Norway quickly followed in 2004, Scotland in 2007, and rest of the UK shortly after. Similarly, single-issue social campaigns can use the momentum of successful reform in other countries to urge similar reform at home. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage, followed by Belgium and British Columbia in 2003 (Canada nationwide in 2005), South Africa in 2006, and since then a flurry of countries have followed suit, often as a result of a referendum or, in Australia’s case, an ‘advisory’ postal survey in 2017.
As the example of the COVID crisis shows, we might also observe that such cross-border policy sharing and collaboration has never been more urgent. In just the past decade, a raft of transnational policy pathologies has acquired an unsettling permanence in domestic political agendas: global financial turbulence, cyber-crime, accelerating climate change, the scourge of international terrorism, amongst others, are ‘wicked problems’ that have deleterious consequences for individuals, communities and governments yet often remain impervious to unilateral state action. International policy learning and multilateral collaboration is thus emerging as a fundamental imperative of modern public administrators seeking to pursue the domestic public interest. These are ascendant ‘expanding global spaces’ (Scholte 2002, p. 281) and they represent a troubling implication for the nation state: for if it is in these spaces that the domestic effects of international challenges must be met, then national sovereignty is becoming potentially negotiable and negotiated. And for domestic officials, notably, extraterritorial action requires extra-sovereign license. The public policy literature has recognised the blurring of the domestic/international spheres and has done much to theorise the intersecting planes of domestic, regional and global governance in both its administrative and (policy) decision-making facets. Diane Stone and Stella Ladi, for example, conceive of these supranational bureaucratic landscape as analytically demarcated by transnational administration and global public policy. Transnational administration is framed as ‘the regulation, management and implementation of global policies of a public nature by both private and public actors operating beyond the boundaries and jurisdictions of the state, but often in areas beneath the global level’ (2015, p. 840). Global public policy, by contrast, refers to ‘overlapping but disjointed processes of public–private deliberation and cooperation among both official state-based and international organizations and nonstate actors’ (2015, p. 840). Decision-making and implementation, on their view, may be understood as distinct pillars within the matrix of managing global problems since different actors (government and nongovernment) have differing levels of involvement therein. They are correct to make this differentiation but, in the case discussed herein, the exception of the Anglosphere potentially proves the rule. Yet where do states look for new ideas and collaborations, and how do they decide which of these are most useful? What influences policy officials to privilege some sources of policy ideas over others? And how do they reconcile, if they do at all, contrasting ideologies of other governments
with otherwise compelling policy ideas? If the digital revolution offers a true cornucopia of new ideas and information, it provides little by way of guidance on what are the most important—let alone the most compatible—policy lessons. For the policy official enthused to learn from her overseas counterparts, knowing how to overcome the tyranny of choice can be just as daunting as remedying a paucity of knowledge. In this context of digital era governance (Dunleavy et al. 2006), cross-border collaboration and communication is not the sluggish exercise experienced by nineteenth century and many twentieth-century officials, but merely a matter of basic digital literacy, a laptop and an Internet connection. Collaboration across borders is becoming increasingly necessary as the converse of digitisation and globalisation bites. The modern age of digital public management, in this respect, is more permeable to new policy ideas, both of domestic and overseas provenance, than ever before. For those engaged theoretically and empirically in such debates, this book offers an examination of international policy learning through the lens and conceptual language of policy transfer. Put simply, the argument forwarded in this book is that prevailing explanations of policy learning overwhelmingly emphasise individuals’ motives and have yet to really explore the complex, powerful influence of long-standing institutional governing traditions and structural relationships. So, the nebulous metatheory of structure and agency, which are a mainstay in political science debates, features prominently in the pages that follow. Nowhere are these dynamics so pronounced than amongst the ‘Anglosphere’ states: the English-speaking countries which, at one point in their history, either adopted or had imposed upon them the British mode of governing, and especially those with entrenched military and security links of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and USA. These are countries deemed to have ‘propinquity’, according to Richard Rose. Exploring this relationship in particular reveals that the manner in which governments (and their officials) adopt ideas from elsewhere is as much a function of administrative political philosophies and structures of the state as the decision-making agency of policy-makers. This book tracks the emergence of imperatives—structural, agential and contingent—from the late 1990s to today that in concert have not only spurred the exchange of policy ideas in welfare and labour markets, but also carved out collaborative structures that persist and cement that ongoing exchange relationship. It seeks to provide an explanation of how policy officials adopt policy ideas and embark on collaborative ventures
with overseas peers. Specifically, it is focused on the unusual case of Anglosphere countries, which over the past twenty years have displayed an astonishing propensity to learn and collaborate with one another, often to the exclusion of other states. The analysis delves into the question of how and why policy learning and collaboration between these states have become so pronounced. To do so, it embraces the conceptual dynamics of structure, ideas and agency. The resulting analysis reveals a complex, multi-layered Anglosphere relationship underpinned by a sense of shared history and global fraternity and driven by a philosophical convergence of public administration in the Third Way, New Public Management and today’s digital era governance. This study is situated within a field of policy transfer analysis, which is broadly concerned with how policies are transported across jurisdictions. The overarching argument presented and defended is that challenges to the state, particularly those transcending national borders, are now overwhelmingly viewed by policy officials through lenses that are, at once, institutional, historical, cultural, technological and political.
Overview The first task of this monograph is to engage with the contemporary political economy of policy ideas across the world, and specifically in Australia, the UK and USA. Predicated on policy transfer scholarship of David Dolowitz and David Marsh, Diane Stone and Mark Evans, it argues that the conditions of increased transnational policy learning have been cemented by the rapid upsurge in digital technologies, promoting collaboration, cooperation and data exchange to a level and extent not previously possible. Second, it suggests this has occurred in the ideational context of emergent normative claims of how policy should be made in the UK, USA and Australia. This is an ideational context of a policy-making milieu created gradually and sequentially by the adoption of principles of New Public Management, rational utilitarianism of evidence-based policymaking, digital era governance and the communitarianism of Third Way politics. Third, this ideational environment has produced both a shared ‘Anglosphere’ understanding of the policy problems faced by these states and a shared commitment to cooperation/collaboration to resolve those problems.
Second, the book undertakes an empirical assessment of these structural drivers of policy transfer by exploring how these manifest in substantive policy transfer across three cases: (i) social policy [(a) consolidated benefit services and (b) child support] and (ii) labour market policy (viz. welfare-to-work programmes). In all cases, the book links the evolving milieu of structural learning to policy transfer: e.g. (i) social policy transfer (driven by NPM imperatives) linked to the adoption of one-stop benefits and service centres; (ii) labour market policy (driven by Third Way ideas and commitment to EBPM) linked to consequent welfare-to-work rationale and quantitative evidence-based assessments of efficacy. The empirical section, in itself, offers a novel contribution for its findings, positing (i) the genesis of ideological channels of policy learning; and (ii) consequent long-term networks of policy learning and collaboration (‘Anglosphere Policy Networks’) embedded between Australia, the UK and USA. Finally, the book reflects on these cases of policy transfer in the context of public policy beyond the state. A model of Emergent Policy Transfer is thus developed and proposed as a means to link domestic ideas and institutions to cross-border and transnational policy challenges. The model connects the stratifying effects of political-administrative transformation with the emergence of a swathe of cross-border (or transnational) policy problems. Indeed, many have drawn attention to a nascent transnational public policy domain (e.g. Diane Stone, Stella Ladi, Mark Evans) and the uncertain processes of decision-making therein. The theoretical contribution of this model offers a means to link the ideology of policy-making with the dynamics of transnational policy processes.
The Roots of Public Policy Learning Public administration has never been an entirely parochial affair. At one time or another, all states have drawn on the lessons of their contemporaries elsewhere, albeit local idiosyncrasies inevitably transform how those lessons are used. It is widely held that the origins of many modern public services, and certainly those derived from the Westminster system, can be traced to the observations by a nineteenth-century British diplomat of Chinese governance innovations. In 1847, Thomas Taylor Meadows, the British Consul in Guangzhou, published these observations in Desultory Notes on the Government and People of China. Meadows’ book reflected at length on China’s cultural outlook, economy, politics and, significantly, its sophisticated system of public administration predicated on competitive
and meritocratic selection of administrators through the Imperial Examination. Observing these innovations, Meadows recommended Britain learn from China’s far-sighted system: ‘Some well-digested system of local and metropolitan general examinations, for all British subjects, like that which has existed with little variation in China for the last thousand years’. Meadows work was widely–read and influential in the subsequent Northcote-Trevelyan Report of 1854, a watershed document for the UK state that was said to represent ‘the greatest single governing gift of the nineteenth to the twentieth century’ (see Islam 2016, p. 238) in establishing the meritocratic, professional civil service. Indeed, the influence of China’s administrative tradition remains evident in the informal styling of senior civil servants as ‘mandarins’. The British Empire foisted upon much of the world an administrative philosophy that, today, manifests in the Commonwealth as ‘the Westminster’ system. The shared governing philosophy laid the groundwork for common administrative approaches. For example, in the post-war period British colonial administrators perceived a need to promulgate the policies of Empire Britain, and so commissioned the publication of Corona: The Journal of His Majesty’s Colonial Service, a monthly journal of ‘policy and practice’ distributed to the colonial administrators across the globe. In the foreword to the first edition of Corona in February 1948, the Secretary of State for the Colonies Arthur Creech-Jones (February 1948) explained how the Colonial services across the Commonwealth could no longer perform their duties independently of one another: we must exchange our information and pool our ideas; we must profit from the experience of others in avoiding the pitfalls which lie in front of us, and appreciate how our own actions may create difficulties elsewhere to the detriment of the common task. (Cited in Kirk-Greene 1999, p. xii)
In this era of colonialism, learning from the experiences of the cohort of colonial administrators across the British Empire posed only a challenge of timely information-sharing, and a regular pan-empire bulletin collating such lessons represented an efficient means to do so. I will quote another telling section, taken from an editorial, that reflects the breadth of Empire as much as the enthusiasm to introduce policy learning: [The Coronet’s] backbone has always been the wish, for example, of the Forestry man in Tanganyika to know how his opposite number is getting
on in British Honduras, or of the North Borneo Policeman to understand the problems facing the Force in Sierra Leone. (XII, 404; cited in KirkGreene 1999, p. xii)
Our diversion into the days of Britain’s controversial colonial past is not simply to draw attention to the deeper historical roots of policy learning, but to lay the basis of a broader claim about the institutional legacy of these practices. First, the fact of the Corona’s establishment underlines the centrality of cross-border learning to proper state administration. The use of policy lessons elsewhere was not seen as ad hoc, but common practice. At the other extreme, the residue of British administration can be detected in the legal systems, governing practices, and democratic institutions of Commonwealth nations, perhaps most clearly observed in the persistence of the Westminster system. The most obvious and persistent structural advantage to the UK conferred by the colonial era may well prove to be the entrenching of the English language as the predominant mode of communication in global political and economic intercourse. Strategically, it is the relationships forged with those English-speaking states with comparable economic performance that has become pronounced amongst what has been called the ‘Anglosphere’, a sometimes ambiguous term that refers—at its broadest—to all English-speaking countries of the world, but in its most common usage refers to a narrower group: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and USA. This small cohort of states have a longstanding historical military alliance, a common native language, shared philosophies of the market, finance and commerce; cultural interchange; common legal systems and, most of all, a sense of fraternity. As will be explored here, these are dynamics that underpin institutional relationships between the ‘Anglosphere’ states that drive mutual policy interchange, collaboration and learning.
Policy Learning in Modern Public Administration Policy transfer is embedded in the modern policy process. In the late 1990s/early 2000s, three influential UK Cabinet Office documents actively encouraged policy learning from overseas: Modernising Government (1999), Better Policy-Making (2001) and Professional Policy-Making for the Twenty-First Century (1999). The latter argued: ‘The world for which policy makers have to develop policies is becoming increasingly complex, uncertain and unpredictable’ (1999, 2.3). The text continues,
claiming that a ‘fully effective’ policy process is outward-looking: ‘Policy makers take account of influencing factors in the national, European and international situation; draw on experience in other countries; and consider how policy will be communicated with the public’ (1999, Annexe A). The Modernising Government White Paper (1999, CM 4310) was influential in this shift towards the ‘modernisation’ of policy and policy-making. According to Better Policy-Making, modernisation entails creating partnerships with overseas institutions: The modernisation agenda demands that Departments change their approach, and become truly joined-up. It calls for knowledge of value to the civil service to be gathered, held and made available to those who need it. It expects creativity, innovation, expertise and problem solving ideas to be owned by the entire service. It expects Government to work in partnership with people and organisations in the wider public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as its counterparts in other international administrations. (Bullock et al., Better Policy-Making, 2001, 13)
In its early days of online dissemination of best-practices, the UK Treasury backed a ‘Policy Hub’ initiative which made available a downloadable ‘international comparisons in policy-making toolkit’, which stipulated the following: The use of international comparisons is an essential element of modern, professional policy making. Looking abroad to see what other governments have done can point us towards a new understanding of shared problems; towards new solutions to those problems; or to new mechanisms for implementing policy and improving the delivery of public services. International examples can provide invaluable evidence of what works in practice, and help us avoid either re-inventing the wheel or repeating others’ mistakes. We can also learn from the way in which other governments undertake the process of policy making itself (4th October 2006).
Policy officials’ engagement with overseas policy thus appears substantial. Policy-makers clearly view modernisation and policy transfer as intrinsically compatible; indeed, as the above texts show, ‘modernised’ policy-making warrants, perhaps even entails, the use of overseas policy.
Theorising Policy Transfer The now dominant analytical framework of policy transfer was developed by Dolowitzand Marsh in the course of several articles: Who Learns What from Whom: A Review of the Policy Transfer Literature (1996); Policy Transfer: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, But Why Red, White and Blue? (Dolowitz, Greenwold and Marsh 1999); and Learning from Abroad: The Role of Policy Transfer in Contemporary PolicyMaking (2000). The framework they developed drew together upon a family of related and intersecting concepts including lesson-drawing (Rose 1991), policy learning (Hall 1993), policy diffusion (Berry and Berry) and policy convergence (Bennett 1991). Their definition of policy transfer is the most widely cited by transfer theorists: The process by which knowledge about policies, administrative arrangements, institutions and ideas in one political system (past or present) is used in the development of policies, administrative arrangements and ideas in another political system. (2005, 5)
The transfer approach suggests that policy officials, amongst others, are motivated by the prospect of using the benefit of overseas experience to resolve domestic issues. It further highlights how policy transfer offers a range of benefits for the prospective adopter: overseas experience can be used to engineer rapid policy change, forestall the unintended consequences of untested policies or enhance inter-state cooperation. According to this scholarship, the lessons drawn can be negative as well as positive; the policies drawn might be a direct copy, an emulation, hybrid or ‘inspiration’; learning might occur at any stage of the (domestic) policy process; and be initiated by elected officials, policy officials, policy entrepreneurs, international organisations and NGOs, interest groups, or any other suitably empowered actor (Dolowitzand Marsh 2000; Ladi 2005). This concept, and indeed this definition, has informed a wealth of policy analyses and forms the starting point of this research. Others, notably Evans and Davies, have sought to develop the policy transfer framework of Dolowitz and Marsh. In their original co-authored article, Understanding Policy Transfer: A Multi-Level, Multi-Disciplinary Perspective (1999), they established an evolved model of policy transfer that was rooted in Wendt’s deployment of structuration theory in International
Relations theory. This model was subsequently used as the basis for a collection of studies, Policy Transfer in Global Perspective (2004), edited by Mark Evans, which ran various empirical case studies through the lens of a ‘multi-level approach’. Policy transfer on this approach is regarded a multi-level phenomenon, driven by agents, that occurs at and between several levels, including local, regional, national, transnational and international (Evans and Davies 1999). Together, these two models of policy transfer are the most concerted efforts to provide a theoretical structure to underpin the policy transfer model (and these are critically examined in Chapters 2 and 3). Empirical research in policy transfer has followed governments’ increasing appetite for overseas ideas. This interest is perceptible across a variety of disciplines and themes, with research exploring the role of transfer on European integration (Bache 2000; Lavenex 2002; Hodson and Maher 2001; Radaelli 2000), crime control (Jones and Newburn 2002; Newburn 2002), education policy (Nakray 2018) climate policy regulation (Smith 2004; Jordan et al. 2003); transport policy (Timms 2011), higher education fees (Chapman and Greenaway 2003), land registration (Lamour 2002), best-practice in healthcare policy (Freeman 1999; France and Taroni 2005; Greener 2002; and Jacobs and Barnett 2000), railway regulation (Lodge 2003), pension reform (Tavits 2003), New Public Management (Common 1998; and see Chapter 4); and international institutions (Stone 1999, 2000; Ladi 2003). This eclectic mix of cases reflects the wide-ranging interest in the phenomenon—however it is framed—of governments adopting external ideas. Yet, lest it needs saying, policy transfer is a process of in which ideas are exchanged, but they need not be morally-sound ones. A declassified CIA cable, for example, reveals how in the 1970s Argentine security agencies were instructing Western agencies in the ‘management, administrative and technical aspects’ of its anti-subversion policies and practices in the US-backed Operation Condor, which was ultimately responsible for the deaths or disappearances of tens of thousands of South Americans. Representatives of West German, French and British intelligence services had visited the Condor organization secretariat in Buenos Aires during the month of September 1977 in order to discuss methods for establishment of an anti-subversion organization similar to Condor.2
The prospect that European and British intelligence agencies willingly took policy advice from a murderous regime underlines the importance, discussed in the opening chapter of this book, of situating the public interest within policy transfer analysis. The relevance and importance of policy transfer analysis to contemporary public policy students is apparent. Yet current frameworks are far from complete. Some argue that policy transfer analysis is a redundant exercise: ‘Researchers interested in conceptual, non-domestic or acrosstime influences on policy-making need not restrict themselves to using the “policy transfer” framework’, argue James and Lodge (2003, p. 185). More fundamentally, their critique suggests: ‘it is hard to think of any form of rational policy-making that does not, in some way, involve using knowledge about policies in another time or place to draw positive or negative lessons (2003, p. 181). This robust critique of the policy transfer approach offers an unflattering indictment of the purpose and usefulness of the framework’s development. James and Lodge’s critique is more fully unpacked later in this book, but their admonishment of policy transfer theorists is indicative of some fragilities in the transfer theoretical approach that are yet to be fully addressed. Indeed, two particular shortcomings of policy transfer approach are the focus of this book. Firstly, the definition of policy transfer (developed by Dolowitz and Marsh) implicitly focuses on the process by which policies are transferred. In emphasising process only, the policy transfer approach has tended to neglect the influence and interplay of structures, institutions and ideas. This is a generalised claim here, but it is more fully elaborated in Chapter 3. Understanding the relationship between these (as well as the ‘process’ of transfer) are critical to a sophisticated explanation of policy transfer. Second, and relatedly, policy transfer analysis is yet to develop a dialogue of ontology and epistemology. This is undoubtedly a debate that occupies academics more than practitioners, yet it is one worth reflecting on since all public policy is implicitly or explicitly predicated on a worldview that, unavoidably, is framed by ontological and epistemological assumptions. This discussion is the focus of Chapter 3. To move directly to the argument forwarded here, this book presents policy learning as an emergent phenomenon. That is, it suggests policy transfer does not occur by happenstance or the felicity of politics, but emerges from deeper socio-political structures that are at once historical and cultural. This book advances an emergent theoretical framework explaining policy transfer that is predicated on the claim that transfer is not a phenomenon that describes a dyadic relationship, but rather is an
function of structure and agency. In this formulation, an emergent formulation is more powerful, because it opens analysis up to a range of possibilities of: why policies are transferred (and why sometimes they are not); how the process both operates and is a product of structural mechanisms; what outcomes are directly consequential, and whether important, subtle policy outcomes can be attributed to transfer.
Collaboration and the Cross-Border Administrative Dilemma Notwithstanding its critics, the position I assert in the chapters that follow is that policy transfer analysis matters for several reasons: first, the technologies of cross-border collaboration are only improving, and it seems unlikely that the trend of multiplying opportunity structures for mutual state learning and collaboration will reverse. Second, cross-border collaboration is the corollary of globalisation: if—as is widely claimed—social, political and economic processes are transiting country borders with ease (nominally as constitutive elements of globalisation), then any state regulation of those processes must involve government officials working across borders to adopt or cooperate on the resulting policy challenges. Third, and relatedly, working across national borders introduces a public policy dilemma. One of the longest-standing questions of political philosophy is how we might determine the ‘common good’ (Bovens 1998; Flinders 2001; O’Toole 2006). The fundamental objective of the state, and its administrators, is prompted by Cicero’s maxim, salus populi suprema lex esto: Let the good (or safety) of the people be the supreme (or highest) law. O’Toole suggests public service, in concept if not application, can be understood thus: [T]he idea is that those in official positions of public authority regard the interests of the whole society as being the guiding influence over all public decision-making, that their personal or class or group interests are to be set aside when making decisions, and that they are public servants purely out of a perceived duty to serve the public. (O’Toole 2006, p. 3)
Yet the brevity of Cicero’s maxim belies the considerable complex reality of today’s state administration. Though we might welcome O’Toole’s public duty ethic, as we might call it, there are good reasons to suspect that it holds little purchase in reality since, today, there is a prima facie
case to argue that acting in the domestic public interest requires policy officials to act in concert with international partners—sometimes state officials, or at other times international organisations, or NGOs or thinktanks (see Diane Stone; Stella Ladi)—to produce the domestic outcomes sought. Such beyond-borders approaches are seen in public health agencies managing epidemic or epizootic outbreaks—prior to the COVID-19 crisis of 2019 and 2020, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 forewarned of the possibility of a catastrophic global pandemic. Or working across borders to produce shared cyber norms to tackle cyber attacks, perhaps best illustrated by the 2017 ‘WannaCry’ ransomware virus that crippled IT systems across the public and private sectors in an estimated 150 countries. The perils of international terrorism—most prominently Al Qaida and the Islamic State—serve to underline the truly global nature of some forms of religious or political violence, and the need for domestic security agencies to collaborate with one another to mitigate or contain the threat. Resolving these challenges, it might be said, is self-evidently in the public interest, and it is equally self-evident that the nature of those challenges is such that no individual state is able to produce a unilateral solution. So, cross-border collaboration is the option of first-resort for many of these challenges, and cross-border networks have begun to emerge as the states’ preferred modus operandi. Termed transgovernmental policy networks (Keohane and Nye 1974; Eberlein and Newman 2008; Legrand 2015, 2016. See Chapter 3), these informal networks operate as coalitions of like-minded states with common challenges. States in networks might be understood to share, or perhaps pool, sovereignty, resources, and ideas. Yet, in acting through these networks to pursue the domestic public interest, public servants surrender the opportunity for public transparency and legitimacy. What is more, these transgovernmental networks are becoming more active in their involvement in policy-making processes and herein several of these networks are explored in the empirical cases of the Anglosphere in Chapters 6 and 7.
Case Studies Chapters 5 and 6 are extended case studies that explore how the dynamics of policy transfer depicted above operate. Chapter 5 begins with an overview of the context of welfare-to-work policy in the UK, USA and Australia, emphasising the contribution of Third Way philosophy to the
development of these policies . In doing so, it traces the dominant ideas of welfare-to-work in each country, emphasising the common linkages between all three. In this chapter, I have two ambitions: first, to trace the ideational heritage/development of welfare-to-work, and, second, to trace the importance of evidence-based policy-making in driving the UK’s adoption of the US approach. I approach this by looking back at the conditions that gave rise to the prevailing attitudes towards welfare support during the 1990s in Australia, UK and USA. Most noticeable within this period is the impact that Third Way ideas were having upon government policy-makers, and the consequent rhetorical emphases on ‘rights and responsibilities’ which were packaged with renewed conceptions of community. The similarities in discourse and philosophy between the three countries are striking and display a shared commitment to projects of welfare restructuring in two directions: first, the political development of the ‘workfare’ legislation in the USA (highlighting the strong Republican influence over the policy); second, the development of the New Deal in the UK with a strong emphasis on the introduction of the welfare-to-work ideas. The introductory period is seen as crucial as it is in this period that the influence of overseas policies is most apparent. Finally, it addresses the development of two associated policy platforms in Australia: the notion of ‘mutual obligation’ and its heavy parallels with the Third Way and punitive welfare policies; and Paul Keating’s introduction of Working Nation. The chapter concludes by arguing that the philosophical commitments of the three policy approaches exhibit remarkable similarities. Such similarities, it is claimed, have formed the basis of mutual learning amongst and between these countries. The second case looks at this era of transformation in policy-making from another perspective. It uses social policy change as an exemplar of networked policy-making that was responsive to, and a product of, the early technological changes of the Anglosphere institutions administering social policy initiatives. The case—named ‘the Windsor Conference’—was an informal network of Anglosphere public service mandarins from Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The Windsor Conference was originally formed with the intention of exchanging ideas and experiences pertaining to social policy and labour market policy. The inception of the network’s predecessor (the Five Countries meeting) in 1989 coincided with the era in which information technology was making its mark on state administration. Indeed, the use and utility of IT in government were the first order of business for
the network. The case represents a watershed for networking between Anglosphere countries as it represents the first move by elite officials to institutionalise and systemise informal, cross-border collaboration. On the basis of the empirical insights gleaned from these cases, the final section of the book develops a theoretical model of policy transfer grounded in critical realist philosophy. It argues that, by characterising policy transfer in terms of emergent properties (a key aspect of critical realism), we can identify the unifying characteristics and outcomes of policy transfers. Its two core aims are: (i) to provide policy transfer with a theoretically-informed definition; and (ii) offer a nuanced characterisation of the relationship between structures and agents. Theoretical reflection on these case studies reveals a complex, and compounding, structural interdependency amongst these states. Understanding how these dynamics comport, and with what outcomes for the publics of the Anglosphere, is crucial if we are to maintain a grounded perspective on the condition of contemporary democratic decision-making.
Notes 1. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jun/14/australiasreliance-on-five-eyes-for-covid-19-economic-strategy-excludes-top-tradepartners. 2. See Uki Goñi, ‘European spies sought lessons from dictators’ brutal ‘Operation Condor’, The Guardian, 167th April 2019. https://www.the guardian.com/world/2019/apr/15/operation-condor-european-spies-dic tators-cia-documents. Accessed 21st May 2019.
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Transnational Public Administration: Imperatives, Dilemmas and Opportunities
The Global Laboratory: Approaches to Theorising Policy Transfer
Theorising the Architecture of Transgovernmental Policy Networks
Political-Cultural Propinquity in the Anglosphere
The Third Way and the Landscape of Welfare Reform: Australia, UK and USA
Agents of Transgovernmental Policy Transfer
The Genesis of Transgovernmental Networks
Conclusion: The Architecture of Policy Transfer in the Anglosphere—A Networked Present and Future
List of Figures
Fig. 5.1 Fig. 1
The bagatelle of questions Continuum of Anglosphere transgovernmental network engagement
List of Tables
Table Table Table Table
2.1 2.2 3.1 5.1
The policy transfer continuum The multi-level policy transfer analysis Transgovernmental model of policy transfer networks Constellations of welfare states (Scharpf and Schmidt 2000, p. 11) Transgovernmental policy networks of the Anglosphere
50 53 99 132 210
Transnational Public Administration: Imperatives, Dilemmas and Opportunities
The pursuit of the public interest is the sine qua non of public officials in liberal democracies. This is no simple task: the modern state is beset by a burgeoning array of domestic-global political, social and economic influences. The task of the public servant, as much today as ever, is one of plotting safe passage of domestic policy agendas through the forbidding maelstroms whipped up by these uncertain forces. Yet it is recognised by public administration scholars that we are witnessing a gradual shift from the local to the global (Pierre 2013), and it is the global trends of that attract the focus of this book, and three in particular. First, we live in an interconnected world. There are, for example, few countries (if any) that can truly claim to have full control of its currency, or a food supply chain that is independent of overseas disruptions, or a labour market policy that is not impacted by migration flows or fluctuations in available foreign investment. Second, managing the complexity of the state is a matter of know-how, and never before have there been such prodigious quantities of information available for decision-makers. This is, of course, a product of today’s digital era. An abundance of policy-relevant raw data is generated and assimilated by public and private information systems with automated data-capture and matching, producing unparalleled insights into societal and economic meta-trends—this is the age of so-called ‘big data’. Information on the policy initiatives of other jurisdictions is also made accessible by the connectivity of the Internet. © The Author(s) 2021 T. Legrand, The Architecture of Policy Transfer, Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55821-5_1
The enterprising policy official merely needs basic web literacy to get a schematic understanding of any given issue, yet this abundance of knowledge can also become a burden. As far back as 1957, Herbert Simon described how policy-makers, who were subject to a ‘bounded rationality’, make suboptimal decisions when faced with a surfeit of information. If this insight is accurate, then the abundance of data in the digital era puts modern government in real trouble. Third, it is recognised that there is a trend towards a gradual flattening of authorities, from hierarchical to horizontal decision-making. This is evident in several respects, not least in how government agencies form relationships with the private and nongovernment sectors. It is also evident within governments as agencies turn towards collaborations, perhaps urged forward by the zeitgeist of ‘joinedup-government’. Finally, horizontal relationships are also visible in the cross-border relationships forged with peers in partner governments. It is in this context of local and global complexity that contemporary public policy scholars and policy practitioners are joined in a common ambition to understand the circumstances, inputs and outcomes associated with the processes by which policy ideas transfer from one jurisdiction to another. For the former, this interest has manifested in an expansive, and expanding, multidisciplinary policy transfer literature that spans geography, law, business studies, political science, international relations and public policy scholars. For the latter, it is clear that a series of connected trends have substantially expanded the opportunities and imperatives for government officials to learn from elsewhere: first, the ubiquitous access to shared information via the Internet has entailed fundamental changes in the way governments acquire, analyse and disseminate information; second, the devolution of decision-making autonomy has given individual policy officials greater licence to seek policy-relevant information from overseas counterparts; and third, the growth in transnational policy issues brings new policy challenges to the fore. Together these trends form the backdrop to the modern state and the imperatives of transnational cooperation and collaboration. In the background, though not explored here, is the cut-and-thrust of politics, what Ferdinand Mount described as the ‘instantaneous, immediate, hot-and-strong breath of public opinion’, in which policy-makers must march to an unforgiving rhythm set by a 24-hour print, television and online media in a climate that tolerates little failure yet demands immediate action on the emergent problems of the day.
TRANSNATIONAL PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION …
Policy Transfer and the Public Interest What drives policy officials to look overseas for new ideas? The lodestar of policy-making in modern liberal democracy is the unrelenting pursuit of the public interest. This is the imperative that all decisions, all statebased actions and allocations of resources should be directed towards serving the needs of the public, from whom all authority and legitimacy derive. This is captured in Cicero’s maxim: Salus populi suprema lex esto, the health of the people should be the supreme law. Yet how are such interests divined? Jeremy Bentham stuck to a matter-of-fact view of this question: ‘The interest of the community then is, what? – the sum of the interests of the several members who compose it’. In Public Opinion, Walter Lippman, the grandfather of public administration, sets aside three chapters to reflect on ‘The making of the Common Will’, asking whether it is possible for the public to collectively generate a common purpose, given the ‘unmanageably complex’ and unique impressions individuals have of their environment: ‘How are those things known as the Will of the People, or the National Purpose, or Public Opinion crystallize out of such fleeting and casual imagery?’ (1997, p. 125). John Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems (1946) dedicates its opening chapter to ‘Search for the Great Public’. There he argues that the pursuit of the public interest is one contingent on time and place: ‘In no two ages or places is there the same public. Conditions make the consequences of associated action and the knowledge of them different’ (p. 33). On both views, the complexity and contingency of the ‘public interest’ are manifest and underline the importance of learning, reflexive policy agents. Yet herein lies a fundamental challenge: How is that ‘health’ to be determined? Dewey frames the problem bluntly: ‘What is the public? If there is a public, what are the obstacles in the way of its recognizing and articulating itself? Is the public a myth?’ (1946, p. 123). Dewey’s puzzling is typical of a problem that continues to express itself as a challenge that requires us to first depict what or whom the ‘public’ is, and, second, as an epistemological problem of how we determining the ‘real’ interests of that public. Not least, we might worry whether it is possible to achieve a meaningful understanding of ‘interests’ in aggregated form—i.e. once two or more ‘interests’ are combined, are not both transformed? This is not a trivial question: the corollary of a centred public interest is that the state must have mechanisms and means of determining what its citizens say is, or is not, in their interests and, to the best of its resources
and administrative ability, it works towards those (van Deth and Newton 2016, p. 339). We use the term representative democracy to denote the relationship between the public and those who make decisions on their behalf: elections periodically install or reaffirm a government with a democratic mandate by approximating the expressed interests of the public through a plebiscite. Between elections, it is a trickier matter. And so it is imperative that a healthy democracy has an active media—a means for the public to talk to amongst one another (which is why the advent of social media has been transformative, or disruptive, depending on your viewpoint)—and arrives perhaps by way of negotiation or attrition at a series of more or less commonly held positions. It is also important that the public have a means to represent their interests in input to decisionmaking, via their local legislative representatives or by vehicles such as interest groups, protest movements and so on. The public interest is in the foreground of policy transfer, because this is not a book just about how we understand the way policies are borrowed and adopted across jurisdictions; it is a book about the transparency of the decision-making process. The visibility of how decisions are made, by whom and for what purpose is critical to the function of legitimate and trusted democratic institutions. How policy officials operate beyond the state is therefore of importance to the legitimacy of decisions. It is also for this reason that to understand how those policy officials regard the provenance of new ideas is of vital importance. As we shall see below, international dynamics and processes have steadily intruded on the autonomy of all state, transforming the capacities and resources of the state and its officials. In so doing, a class of transnational policy challenges has reared-up, provoking multiple states to forge policy responses and widen the pool of available policy ideas for learning officials. Active in the background of learning processes are implicit assumptions of provincial validity: that is, a validity ascribed to ideas that originate from a priori privileged sources. Chapter 4 unpacks this in detail, but in short the claim pursued is that some sources of policy ideas are regarded more highly than others: Specifically, in the case of English-speaking countries, particularly those of comparable socio-economic status, the so-called Anglosphere states place a premium on lessons from their peers.
TRANSNATIONAL PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION …
Globalisation and Interdependency No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent A part of the main If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. John Donne: Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
The opening lines of John Donne’s often-quoted poem speak eloquently to the principal themes of this chapter: global society and interdependency. Alongside the public interest, these are two issues that are unavoidable in our present discussion. It is easy to overlook the interwoven strands of state administration, private enterprise and public action that contribute to the day-to-day functioning of life and livelihood of the state and society. In the modern world, each of these strands is neither isolated nor ‘entire of itself’. Rather, each is very much ‘a part of the main’ in an internationalised and interdependent matrix of processes, linkages and dependencies between countless state, non-state and commercial entities, from mining, energy and food production to financial trading, communication networks and transportation. The internationalisation of the state and society is almost taken for granted today. But it is worth considering briefly its historic dimensions, for these dimensions affect not only how contemporary governing dilemmas emerge, but also how they are understood and managed. Prominent International Relations (IR) scholars, writing in the 1970s, called attention to the manifest codependencies between states in what was labelled transnationalism. In two seminal papers, Transgovernmental Relations and International Organizations and Power and Interdependence, Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye presented a critique of the realist conceptualisations of world politics and the role of states as unitary actors playing out their national self-interest. Developing a conceptual position that relied on a disaggregated, rather than unitary, model of the state, they argued that the interaction of states could not be adequately explained without considering the role of ‘complex interdependency’ in the international system. They contended that emerging patterns of societal international interdependency drive transgovernmental relations, which play out in international organisations, in turn driving policy interdependence (1974, p. 61). For Keohane and Nye, there is a resultant
series of transgovernmental relations understood as ‘sets of direct interactions among sub-units of different governments that are not controlled or closely guided by the policies of the cabinets or chief executives of those governments’ (Keohane and Nye 1974, p. 43). These interdependency trends have manifested in political and scholarly debates over the relative autonomy of the state in the face of transnationalising trends that now fall under the label of globalization. The early debates of the 1990s centred on whether ‘the state’ was made redundant, diminished, enervated or merely transformed by surging global markets and emboldened corporate actors. The globalisation debate of the 1990s was framed as head-to-head collision between the beleaguered state on the one hand, and out-of-control global economic forces on the other. Those championing the virtues of a qualitatively new form of globalisation vaunted the benefits brought by a bullish new breed of multinational companies that had ‘carved out entirely new channels for themselves’ (Ohmae 1994), rendering redundant the nation state’s inefficient role as a regulator. Others were more reticent and, whilst acknowledging the strength of the nascent global forces, foresaw a moral peril in the declining capacity of the nation state to rein-in private enterprises and transnational processes that were ‘more powerful than the state to whom ultimate political authority over society and the economy was supposed to belong’ (Strange 1996; Falk 1999). For others, perhaps most notably David Held, Anthony McGrew, David Goldblatt, and Jonathan Perraton, the newly identified forms of globalisation, represent a continuation of a series of ‘globalisations’ that have occurred over humanity’s longue duree (Held et al. 2000). On this view, global interactions could be construed as merely the latest form of globalisation. So, in contrast to scholars envisioning a weakened nation state battening down the hatches to weather the maelstroms of increasingly powerful global forces, Held et al. argue that the state has been transformed: ‘Far from globalization leading to the “end of the state”’, they claim, ‘it is stimulating a range of government and governance strategies and, in some fundamental respects, a more activist state’ (Held et al. 2000). Others, such as Paul Hirst and Graeme Thompson, challenged the ‘conventional wisdom’ about the reach and pace of globalisation, proposing that the economic, social and political dynamics were something more akin to regionalisation of Europe, North America and Asia Pacific (Hirst 1999). In later work, Hirst and Thompson warn of the propensity of politicians to appeal to globalisation ‘to undermine any attempt to maintain or improve public services and welfare standards’ (Hay and Rosamond 2002). They contend that
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the concept of globalisation has ‘dangerous political side effects’ that, as a concept, weakens policy-makers’ confidence in the governance capacities of the nation state (Hirst 2000). According to these authors, the diminished confidence in the nation state is critical: ‘Without such capacities there can be no effective foundations on which to build and to control forms of international governance’ (2000, p. 58).
Imperatives of Global Governance: Interdependency and Emerging Policy Challenges In more recent years, the footing of the globalisation debate has shifted somewhat towards the parlance of ‘global governance’. This term turns on social, rather than economic, questions of how political classes can manage a new set of transnational issues that have been produced by globalisation and great shifts in demographies and lifestyles. Amidst a global population boom, there is a ‘dramatic increase’ in global mega-cities (Kraas 2007, p. 79): in 2018, the number of people with access to the Internet passed 4 billion, 2.17 billion of whom had social media profiles on Facebook1 and a rapidly digitising global news media.2 Around 4 billion people use air travel, a number expected to double by 2037.3 Economically, trade in services amongst OECD countries tripled from $US1.49t in 2005 to US$4.5t in 2016.4 Thus, increasingly, we see reference to the permeability of state borders, the easy and largely unfettered transit of finance across countries, the ubiquity of global digital media and demise of local print media. Against this backdrop of rising internationalisation and interdependency, a family of new imperatives for the state are emerging. Because of the internationalisation of national economies, societies, cultures, commerce and industry, crises that originate elsewhere on the world can, and often do, spread rapidly to affect neighbouring and distant states. The last thirty years have witnessed an unprecedented growth in technologies that give rapid transit to ideas, information, goods, fuels, services and people around the world. There is absolutely no doubt that these technologies have invigorated the international economy—though many states have benefited only marginally—and unlocked new vistas of education, health care, economic development for developing and developed countries alike. Yet a new set of transnational challenges transcend sovereign borders to the extent that meaningful policy measures require multilateral action, such as those posed by climate change and
environmental pollution, economic instability, international terrorism and organised crime, pandemics and asylum seekers, amongst others. These are partly challenges exacerbated by modern technologies and patterns of society. For example, the physical digital infrastructure that constitutes the Internet has uncoupled geographical and temporal constraints on communication. Global flows of information are only partly limited by our social circadian rhythms and business working hours, though even this impediment is to all intents and purposes irrelevant in sectors that either automate processes round the clock, or use shift-workers to cater to market demands in different time zones. The immediacy of information and communication is exemplified in the use of online technologies to communicate ideologies. Access to social media platforms has been widely recognised as a crucial accelerant of uprising across the Middle East during the Arab Spring, which saw several countries spiral into crisis and conflict (Frangonikolopoulos and Chapsos 2012), while in the rise of the Islamic State (IS) the use of social media was one of the principal means to recruit supporters from across the world to travel to Iraq and Syria. In global finance, meanwhile, the dynamics of interdependency were loundly pronounced during the Global Financial Crisis; governments are now acutely aware of the inherent risks and instabilities in integrated global financial markets—none more so than Iceland, which saw all three of its principal banks collapse under the weight of debt induced by over-enthusiastic lending practices in the USA. In the cyber realm, the sovereignty of the state is in disarray. Online crime, committed by individuals and groups overseas, occurs on an almost pandemic scale beyond the physical and legal reach of law enforcement. The threat of major disruption to banking, policing and defence agencies and industry is now a daily reality: online credit card fraud, identity theft and intellectual property theft are growing in scale and sophistication. In addition to new technological dynamics, a host of public safety threats are not only compounded, but are widened and accelerated by global interdependencies, leading Uriel Rosenthal to observe that ‘The growing interdependence and the increasing mobility and communication make each society and each policy domain ever more vulnerable to crisis agents’ (2003, p. 135). For example, food supply chains now span continents and introduce new vectors of risks. This was borne out in 2011 when fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt contaminated bean sprouts grown on an organic farm in Germany with a harmful E.coli bacteria. The contaminated bean sprouts were consumed across Germany and Europe,
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causing the deaths of 53 people and another 3950 illnesses. As we have seen with the mounting death toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, international travel accelerates and widens the threat of pandemics, especially with the advent of low-cost air travel opening up commercial markets and tourist destinations to an increasing number of people in the West and developing countries. The COVID-19 pandemic was presaged by the infamous ‘swine flu’, H1N1 influenza, that spread across the world in 2009 killing between an estimated 151,700 and 575,400 people. Such public safety threats amplify the urgency of cross-border learning, not least because public policy decisions made in one state can impact directly on the governments (and publics) of others. The regulation of nuclear power station design in Soviet Ukraine and Japan had enormous repercussions for neighbouring countries when Chernobyl and Fukushima respectively failed in 1986 and 2011. Public health management in West Africa, for example, was of keen interest to Western governments in the midst of the Ebola outbreak of 2014. These transnational tensions compound trends towards interdependency. Cities are beholden to thinly-stretched supplies of petrol and diesel. Manufacturing, food production and transport are wedded to profitable just-in-time production and delivery processes from aviation and maritime transport routes. Businesses increasingly transfer their critical commercial data to cloud-based servers located across any number of overseas states, posing hitherto unresolved questions of legal jurisdiction and data ownership. Increasingly, it seems, the distinction between interconnected and co-dependent is diminishing, whilst the resolution of public-private dilemmas is becoming increasingly urgent, as noted in the UK Parliament in 2007. The loss of critical infrastructure in one country has the potential to have severe effects in another. The loss of power supply can hinder emergency services or transport, for example, and these knock-on effects are able to continue across borders. Following human error, an overload of the electricity transmission system in Germany in November 2006 resulted in some 50 million EU citizens losing power in Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Portugal. (House of Commons 2007: Column 1518, cited in Aradau 2010)
These threats of transnationalism and interdependency represent a significant challenge to the autonomy of the state. Modern state officials now face the dilemma posed by globalisation’s drivers: that beyond-the-state forces have widened the state’s exposure to a host of threats whilst at
the same time diminishing the capacity of domestic policy officials to unilaterally prevent or mitigate such risks. [T]he fragmentation of political agency and the diffusion of legal or law-like arrangements at different levels and across different dimensions of global governance have blurred the boundaries between the international states system, the international community and transnational society. (Brütsch and Lehmkuhl 2007, p. 1)
The Global Financial Crisis exposed not only the systemic vulnerabilities and corruptions of a US-centric global financial system but also the extent to which states’ economies had become interdependent. Whilst seemingly invulnerable multinational banks foundered, interest rates soared, shellshocked bankers vacated their seemingly invulnerable institutions with little more than a box of possessions and a sense of disbelief. The perils of global interdependency can scarcely be better illustrated than by this precipitous collapse of financial institutions and, with that collapse, the loss of billions in retirement savings, evictions, job losses and the imposition of what was euphemistically described as ‘austerity measures’ to correct the budget losses. Thomas Piketty in his acclaimed book, Capital, points out that experiences of ‘globalisation’ are far from equal: These very different collective experiences of growth in the twentieth century largely explain why public opinion in different countries varies so widely in regard to commercial and financial globalization and indeed to capitalism in general. In continental Europe and especially France, people quite naturally continue to look on the first three postwar decades—a period of strong state intervention in the economy—as a period blessed with rapid growth, and many regard the liberalization of the economy that began around 1980 as the cause of a slowdown. (Piketty 2014, p. 98)
These variegated national experiences of cross-border flows lead us to the important debates around global governance: the question of how, and with what authority, decisions can be made about the above-the-state forces absent the constraints of nation states. This is a debate kick-started by Rosenau, but remains very much alive amongst scholars. Indeed, the terminology and debates of global governance are to be found threading through the pages of this book. One thread in particular is relevant: How is the public interest served by decisions made above the nation state—whither the democratic legitimacy?
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The ineluctable consequences of globalisation seem to come with few stipulations about its regulation, if indeed that is at all possible. Doubtless, publics of the world are affected profoundly by the beyond-the-state flows of capital, goods and finance. They are also affected by the decisions of foreign governments, international organisations and multinational corporations: Who is ultimately responsible for the decisions that, say, alter prevailing interest rates, or the price of food, or the stability of employment? In whose interests do these operate, and can they really serve multiple public interests at once? Certainly, it is the poorest who are most vulnerable. The globalisation-welfare state nexus (see Genschel 2011) is a worrying one: on the one hand, the caprices of international finance create a volatility that unsettles long-term employment, requiring states to fill in the gaps to sustain the labour market in transition. On the other, the same global pressures systematically undermine the affordability of doing so. The result is imbalance, as Stiglitz points out: Globalization and technology both contribute to the polarization of our labor market, but they are not abstract market forces that just arrive from on high; rather, they are shaped by our policies. We have explained how globalization—especially our asymmetric globalization—is tilted toward putting labor in a disadvantageous bargaining position vis-à-vis capital. (Stiglitz 2012, p. 347)
Towards Transgovernmentalism: Collaboration and Cooperation in an Uncertain World The outlook for an autonomous, sovereign state, then, seems unsteady at best. If, echoing John Donne’s verse, we argue that society is embedded in a global matrix of interconnected social, economic and political processes, then state autonomy is no longer a viable concept, taken literally, and is increasingly encumbered with a ‘global-local’ dilemma. Pursuing the public interest, as we have already seen, is a complex and contingent activity and is only made more complex by growing global intersections. In an environment in which domestic outcomes are shaped not only by local interventions but by the (often unintended) consequences of actions in distant locations, it is far more difficult to ensure a simple correspondence between politicians’ ambitions, actions and outcomes (and the public interest).
How have governments responded to this globalising environment of policy-making? Returning to the early days of reflection on the nascent global flows, Keohane and Nye posited the interdependency of states. This structural perspective foreshadowed new forms of decentralised cross-border collaboration: ‘As the agenda broadens’, they suggested, ‘bureaucracies find that to cope effectively at acceptable cost with many of the problems that arise, they must deal with each other directly rather than indirectly through foreign offices’ (1974, p. 42). In the decades since Keohane and Nye’s interdependency claims, new technologies of transport and communication have accelerated the global policy interdependencies, imperatives and opportunities for collaboration. Recognising the multiplying cross-border interdependencies, policy officials are increasingly active in ‘transnational administration’: new venues of informal decision-making involving non-domestic actors such as multinational corporations, NGOs, IOs and other states. We detect these logics of international collaboration in policy-making frameworks. The UK government expects officials to collaborate with ‘counterparts in other international administrations’ (Bullock et al. 2001, p. 13), but also advises policy officials: ‘The world for which policy makers have to develop policies is becoming increasingly complex, uncertain and unpredictable’ (Bullock et al. 2001, p. 15). So, all is not quite lost for the state. Though emergent ‘uncertain’ transnational challenges cannot be staved off nor ignored unilaterally, opportunities for multilateral, collaborative action to address challenges that are common to multiple states offers an obvious way out. This is the basis of the international system and the principle of liberal institutionalism that underpins it. For Anne-Marie Slaughter, the national sovereignty is indeed only meaningful within a system of international interdependency: However paradoxical it sounds, the measure of a state’s capacity to act as an independent unit within the international system – the condition that ‘sovereignty’ purports both to grant and describe – depends on the breadth and depth of its links to other states. (Slaughter 2004, p. 187)
The obvious corollary is to whom do states turn? From where do they derive lessons and learning amidst the incredible digital availability of information? In the Introduction to this book, I surveyed in brief the influence of Chinese administration in the establishment of the UK’s civil service. In The Rise and Progress of the English Commonwealth (1832),
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Francis Palgrave charts the evolution of the British state, its institutions and constitution, for which his admiration is evident: ‘the political history of England is, on the whole, more cheering than that of any state or dominion which has hitherto existed’ (1832, p. 6). The virtues of the English constitution, claimed Palgrave, was demonstrated by its adoption (or, if not adopted, ‘earnestly desired’) ‘in the fairest and in the most intelligent countries of Europe’. Palgrave’s belief in the preeminence of the British model of government was fairly typical of its time. The early years of policy transfer were inextricably linked to colonial rule. London’s oldest university, Gresham College, was the training hub for budding civil servant. It was so important that the college earned an explicit exemption from the Seditious Meetings Act 1819, which otherwise forbade meetings to discuss trade and manufacture and public grievances. Today’s entrants to public services can expect to undergo a no less professional training in the legal and institutional expectations of being a modern official. To take just one example of how governments explicitly incorporate lesson-drawing into the policy-making process, a UK Cabinet Office report entitled ‘Professional Policy Making for the Twenty-First Century’ found that: Our evidence shows that looking at other countries’ experience can contribute very positively to the policy-making process. The New Deal for Lone Parents and the Single Work Focused Gateway Project (‘One’) both drew extensively from experience abroad to inform their thinking. The latter made comparisons with similar interventions in California, Maryland and Wisconsin USA, Australia, New Zealand, New Brunswick, Canada and the Netherlands and involved a practitioner from the USA in some of the detailed work. (Strategic Policy Making Team, Cabinet Office 1999, 5.2)
In addition, this study placed a heavy emphasis on ‘learning lessons from experience’. The authors argue that a more systematic procedure for assessing the effectiveness of policies should be put in place to obtain detailed information on the outcomes and effectiveness of policies. Such a system, they claim, is especially necessary wherein: ‘The more policy makers innovate, the less certainty they can have about achieving intended results and the greater the need to assess policy impacts and be prepared to change tack’ (2003, 10.5). This sentiment is reflected in Twelve Actions to Professionalise Policy Making in which the UK Civil Service’s Policy Profession Board called for government to ‘Identify learning from policy failure/successes’.
The Technological Revolution Scholarly interest in the process of policy learning and transfer is correlated with an increasing tendency of policy-makers to resort to transfer and learning, especially between states that share similar administrative traditions: Straightforward a-to-b movements of policy occur almost on a daily basis across Westminster style democracies and are rarely either underpinned by evidence-based research or scrutinised by legislatures. (Marsh and Evans 2012, p. 480)
Indeed, analysts use this supposed increase in policy transfers as a rationale for the argument that ‘policy transfer’ requires further theoretical and empirical attention: ‘as the body of literature associated with policy transfer has grown it has become indisputable that political actors are consistently engaging in the process’ (Dolowitz 1997, p. 23). But is this quantifiably demonstrable? Technological transformation is relevant to questions of why policy transfer appears more prevalent than ever (see Annesley 2016; Bomberg and Peterson 2000). In itself, determining the quantum of policy transfer is not straightforward. Phillips and Ochs observe it is ‘extremely difficult to quantify’ policy transfer (2003; see also Houlihan et al. 2010), though certainly advances in modern technology and communications have considerably deepened the pool of policy know-how available to government officials. The modern state has had to evolve rapidly to accommodate administrative dynamics that were scarcely conceivable thirty years ago. The arrival of the desktop computer into civil service offices in the 1980s heralded a new era of administration in which the possibilities seemed limitless. Recognising the possibilities, companies were asked to develop laptop designs—or ‘kneetops’ as they were then dubbed—to allow for mobile computing. In the 1990s, the networked interoperability of computers allowed the construction of, and universal access to, vast electronic government databases containing detailed and crossreferenced personal information. Now, the rapid growth and evolution of the Internet has profoundly changed the rules of engagement between all sorts of political agents, from individuals to NGOs, to local authorities, to governments, to international organisation—the world’s political landscape now has a distinctively digital structure. Increasingly, new and old information is digitised, indexed and made accessible through
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the Internet, creating a rapidly expanding repository of policy-relevant data that can be reviewed with limited effort for minimal cost (see, for example, van Waarden and Drahos 2002, p. 931). Some commentators have observed a concomitant increase in instances of policy transfer and attribute this rise partly to the ease of access to overseas and domestic policy information (Dolowitz and Marsh 1996, 2000; Evans and Davies 1999; Pierson 2003; Radaelli 2000). Reflecting on domestic political changes, it is argued that increased policy transfer reflects: ‘the growth of legislation and the pace of change is greater than ever before’ (Dolowitz et al. 1999, p. 719). The almost ubiquitous access to shared information via the Internet has entailed fundamental changes in the way governments acquire, analyse and disseminate information. Systematic data collection on consumer, economic, social and financial information has considerably enhanced the possibilities (though perhaps not the capacity) for governments to interact with society in new ways and understand the impact of policies.5 Mostly, however, the roots of policy transfer, or, at least, the increased visibility of it, are linked to globalisation and the policy challenges that it brings. On this perspective, global social and economic forces produce a set of policy problems experienced by many countries at the same time, and who share an incentive to locate and offer collaborative policy solutions (Drezner 2001; Holzinger and Knill 2005). For Diane Stone, the corollary of heightened global processes means that ‘States will remain important mediators of globalisation but their capacities to react and respond will differ substantially’ (2003, p. 17). Consequently, policymakers have become cognisant of: ‘the emergence of qualitatively “new” policy problems that cannot be dealt with effectively through established policy heuristic’ (1999, p. 53). As a mode of policy innovation, lesson-drawing has also been endorsed by international institutions. For example, whilst lacking the necessary overt mechanisms of power and/or coercion possessed by the IMF or World Bank (see Dolowitz and Marsh 2000), the OECD utilises the ‘moral’ influence of its member states to facilitate policy learning. Consider the following statements: Democratic governments want policies that are in the best interests of their citizens. But how can they –and their voters- be sure they are making the right choices? One answer is by learning from the tried and tested experiences of others […]
A country seeking to reduce unemployment, for example, can learn valuable lessons from its peers on what has worked and what has not. This can save time, and costly experimentation, in crafting the best policies for a particular country. (Pagani, 2002, p. 55)
There is also an internationalisation of policy best practice. The Centre For Public Impact is a paradigm example: this is a think tank, established in 2015—funded by the US firm Boston Consulting Group—that in 2017 launched a digital repository of public policy case studies, selected for the salience as examples of successful or unsuccessful policy, drawing out the key lessons for future policy work. Notably, the digital resource promulgates a western-oriented vision, or idea, of what public policy, who it is for and how it should be done. Its audience is, further, global in its ambitions: as part of its outreach, the Centre has hosted workshops in Mexico, India, Estonia, the UK the USA, Singapore and beyond: it is, to all intents and purposes, a broadcast channel of policy transfer. The shifting dimensions of the international technological, economic and political sphere give us cause to revisit some fundamental questions of policy learning and diffusion: How do policy officials learn? From which countries? What lessons? Why these lessons? Inevitably, research on this topic is hindered by the opacity of policy processes, or what is sometimes referred to as the ‘black box’ of policy-making, a product of the natural reticence of officials to declare the source of their inspiration, negative or positive. As a consequence, it is easy to see why there is relatively little substantive knowledge of international policy learning networks (as opposed to processes and outcomes, on which the policy transfer literature is very active) and why few transgovernmental policy networks, especially those populated by elite officials, have been identified. In their recent review of the policy transfer literature, Benson and Jordan argue: ‘In general, the more empirical question of why and when certain types of transfer appear in particular settings and not others has still not been fully addressed’ (2011, p. 370). As noted above, it is generally agreed that policy transfer is an understood tool of public administration for policymakers seeking to navigate the ‘changing world of governance’ (Dolowitz 2003, p. 100). Thus, globalisation is seen as a double-edged sword: where on the one hand economic forces create the imperative for policy coordination, and on the other: ‘the rapid growth in communications of all types makes exchange of ideas and knowledge much easier’ (Dolowitz and Marsh 2000, p. 7). Yet, the question of provincial validity remains
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unanswered. Are all sources of policy inspiration equally appropriate, irrespective of provenance? As a theory of cross-national policy movement, policy transfer analysts naturally reference globalisation and its constituent dynamics. Two dominant views have emerged in the literature concerning the impact that globalisation has had upon the increase in instances and uses of policy transfer, with it seen as either a useful by-product of global forces or a developed response and corrective to the erosion of the nation state by global forces. On both views, globalisation poses a new challenge to contemporary policy-making. Policy-making, on this view, resorts to policy learning and transfer from overseas because either: i. There is a crisis of representative democracy in which the rapidly increasing interconnectivity—economic and political—of states means that policy-makers’ traditional policy-making tools are incapable of meeting previously unencountered policy problems brought on by globalisation. Thus, policy transfer is deployed defensively as a means of ‘solving’ new policy problems; in this sense, the coherence of the domestic policy agenda is challenged and policy transfer is viewed as a way of re-empowering state actors by drawing upon the methods employed by overseas actors to maintain control over domestic policy in the face of exogenous forces. ii. The increasing interconnectivity empowers the policy-making process. Indeed, it is argued that: ‘The relevance of cross-national policy transfer promises to increase, with advances in communications and the process of globalization’ (Mossberger and Wolman 2003, p. 429). On this view, the increasing technological capabilities which are a feature of globalisation offer policy-makers a powerful avenue to explore alternative policy-making methods used overseas. Accordingly, policy transfer reinforces the range of techniques policy-makers can draw upon to meet domestic policy challenges, thus augmenting the portfolio of policy-making tools. Whilst assigning globalisation two very different causal roles, both views adhere to the notion that adopting policies from overseas helps policymakers to realise their strategic goals. Yet, the role of globalisation has not been adequately disaggregated. On a normative level, theorists have emphasised the possible uses of policy transfer as a response to exogenous
forces which threaten traditional modes of policy-making. On another level, the technological and communication advances inherent in globalisation facilitate successful policy transfer, enhancing the possibilities for, and occurrences of, policy transfer. These accounts of globalisation do not help us with the questions posed at the outset of this chapter: How do we determine and serve the public interest? Doing so is of primary, a priori, importance to the policymaker since she must first serve the domestic interest. There is little to be gained from adopting, say, a well-respected model of primary education from Scandinavia if doing so does not meet the needs of the local population. In other words, the adoption of ideas from elsewhere should never be a function merely of the performance of that policy in its original setting, but a function of how well it marries with domestic needs. And so we might assume ceteris paribus that policy transfer arises from a belief—of a policy-maker, or institution—of parity between the interests of the domestic and overseas constituencies. Determining how they do so is the interest of the following chapters.
Notes 1. 2018 Global Digital Reports. 2. In 2012, there were just 5452 digital newspapers in circulation. In 2015, this number had risen to 25,421. Source: PWC. A value increase of US$950 million in 2012 to US$5.550 billion in 2018. 3. IATA: 2036 Forecast Reveals Air Passengers Will Nearly Double to 7.8 Billion. http://www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/Pages/2017-10-24-01.aspx. 4. OECD (2018), Trade in services (indicator). https://doi.org/10.1787/ 3796b5f0-en (Accessed on 26 June 2018). 5. The UK Office for National Statistics Indices of Multiple Deprivation is a case in point. Data on income, employment, benefit uptakes and so on, are regularly collected across the UK and made openly available. The resolution of the data is astounding: it is possible to view aggregated household data at a street level for any given postcode in the UK.
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Frangonikolopoulos, C. A., & Chapsos, I. (2012). Explaining the role and the impact of the social media in the Arab Spring. Global Media Journal: Mediterranean Edition, 7 (2). Genschel, P. (2011). Globalization and the welfare state: A retrospective. Journal of European Public Policy, 11(4), 613–636. https://doi.org/10.1080/135 0176042000248052. Hay, C., & Rosamond, B. (2002). Globalization, European integration and the discursive construction of economic imperatives. Journal of European Public Policy, 9(2), 147–167. https://doi.org/10.1080/13501760110120192. Held, D., McGrew, A., Goldblatt, D., & Perraton, J. (2000). Global transformations: Politics, economics and culture. In Politics at the Edge (pp. 14–28). London: Palgrave Macmillan. Hirst, P. (1999). Has globalisation killed social democracy? The Political Quarterly, 70, 84–96. Hirst, P. (2000). Globalization, the nation state and political theory. In Political theory in transition (pp. 172–189). London: Routledge. Holzinger, K., & Knill, C. (2005). Causes and conditions of cross-national policy convergence. Journal of European Public Policy, 12(5), 775–796. https://doi. org/10.1080/13501760500161357. Houlihan, B., Tan, T. C., & Green, M. (2010). Policy transfer and learning from the West: Elite basketball development in the People’s Republic of China. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 34(1), 4–28. https://doi.org/10.1177/019 3723509358971. Keohane, R. O., & Nye, J. S. (1974). Transgovernmental relations and international organizations. World Politics, 27 (1), 39–62. https://doi.org/10.2307/ 2009925. Kraas, F. (2007). Megacities and global change: Key priorities. Geographical Journal, 173(1), 79–82. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4959.2007. 232_2.x. Lippman, W. (1997). Public opinion (1922). New York: Free Press Paperbacks. Marsh, D., & Evans, M. (2012). Policy transfer: Coming of age and learning from the experience. Policy Studies, 33(6), 477–481. https://doi.org/10. 1080/01442872.2012.736795. Mossberger, K., & Wolman, H. (2003). Policy transfer as a form of prospective policy evaluation: Challenges and recommendations. Public Administration Review, 63(4), 428–440. https://doi.org/10.1111/1540-6210.00306. Ohmae, K. (1994). The borderless world: Power and strategy in the global marketplace. London: HarperCollins. Pagani, F. (2002). Peer review: A tool for global co-operation and change. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD Observer, (235), 55.
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Palgrave, F. (1832). The rise and progress of the English commonwealth: AngloSaxon period containing the anglo-saxon policy, and the institutions arising out of laws and usages which prevailed before the conquest. United Kingdom: Murray. Phillips, D., & Ochs, K. (2003). Processes of policy borrowing in education: Some explanatory and analytical devices. Comparative Education, 39(4), 451– 461. https://doi.org/10.1080/0305006032000162020. Pierre, J. (2013). Globalization and governance. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Pierson, C. (2003). Learning from labor? Welfare policy transfer between Australia and Britain. Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 41(1), 77– 100. Piketty, T. (2014). Capital in the twenty-first century (A. Goldhammer, Trans.). Cambridge: Belknap. Policy Profession Board. (2013). Twelve actions to professionalise policy making. London: Policy Profession Board. Radaelli, C. M. (2000). Policy transfer in the European Union: Institutional isomorphism as a source of legitimacy. Governance: an International Journal of Policy Administration and Institutions, 13(1), 25–43. https://doi.org/10. 1111/0952-1895.00122. Rosenthal, U. (2003). September 11: Public administration and the study of crises and crisis management. Administration & Society, 35(2), 129–143. https://doi.org/10.1177/0095399703035002001. Simon, H. A. (1957). Models of man; social and rational. New York: Wiley. Slaughter, A. M. (2004). Disaggregated sovereignty: Towards the public accountability of global government networks. Government and Opposition, 39(2), 159–190. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1477-7053.2004.00119.x. Stiglitz, J. E. (2012). The price of inequality: How today’s divided society endangers our future. New York: W. W. Norton. Stone, D. (1999). Learning lessons and transferring policy across time, space and disciplines. Politics, 19(1), 51–59. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9256. 00086. Stone, D. (2003). The “knowledge bank” and the global development network. Global Governance, 9(1), 43–61. https://doi.org/10.1163/19426720-009 01005. Strange, S. (1996). The retreat of the state: The diffusion of power in the world economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Strategic Policy Making Team Cabinet Office. (1999). Professional policy making for the twenty first century. London: British Cabinet Office. van Waarden, F., & Drahos, M. (2002). Courts and (epistemic) communities in the convergence of competition policies. Journal of European Public Policy, 9(6), 913–934.
The Global Laboratory: Approaches to Theorising Policy Transfer
Nevertheless, it can also be argued that transnational opportunity structures, unlike national ones, are not configured primarily by hierarchical state structures, but by multilayered, quasi-anarchical, overlapping and cross-cutting – transnational – political processes, including not only statesin-flux but also transnational economic and transgovernmental linkages. (Cerny 2009, p. 155)
As we have seen in the opening arguments of this book, and Philip Cerny’s observation above, modern governments interact in complex ways and do so globally permeating both the national and international domains alike. Global challenges that transcend borders force governments to coordinate, cooperate or learn from one another—the economic, political, social and natural dimensions of the 2020 COVID19 pandemic illustrated conclusively how deeply interconnected those domains are, and how important it was for policy-makers to seek out, adopt, adapt and learn from others’ best practices in managing the local effects of the global crisis. Policy transfer scholars have been at the forefront of work to recognise that the dynamics of policy-making not stop at the border, nor are they neat, linear learning processes. Diane Stone refers to the need to emphasise ‘the messy processes of hybrid policies emerging from multiple exemplars, and the messy interpretive processes where importing countries translate and amend transferred policies’ (2020, p. 71). In spanning the domestic and state, it is argued, we © The Author(s) 2021 T. Legrand, The Architecture of Policy Transfer, Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55821-5_2
must recognise both the increasing resonance of non-domestic influences and the complexity of how policies are adapted and assembled, and adapt our prevailing theories of domestic policy-making accordingly. Theorising these dynamics is, therefore, a pressing concern, leading us to ask: How does the ‘activity’ of transfer contribute to our existing models of decision-making and political outcomes? A family of analytical approaches contribute to policy transfer concepts, including most prominently lessondrawing (e.g. Rose 1993), policy diffusion (e.g. Simmons 2014), policy convergence (e.g. Bennett 1991) and policy assemblage (e.g. Savage 2019). These analyses are overlapping in some areas and distinct in others, with policy transfer acting as the umbrella term for lesson-drawing, learning and diffusion. Separately and jointly, these approaches have forged differing, but intersecting, perspectives on Cerny’s ‘transnational opportunity structures’. Largely, the analytical diversity explored below is a natural consequence of the eclecticism of epistemology in the social sciences and this chapter seeks to draw out the prevailing conceptual harmony and friction between these distinct approaches. The depiction of these models here draws deliberate attention to the privileging of either structure or agency in these approaches. Importantly, I suggest, models tend to reproduce a common methodological misstep: the burgeoning policy transfer literature is largely theoretically informed by ‘successful’ cases of policy transfer (but not always: see Stone 2020 for an exception), which are used post hoc to derive the circumstances in which policy transfer is thought to be most effective. This literature has tended to ask: ‘When policy transfer happens, why did it happen?’ This methodological trend has significant conceptual repercussions: first, it indicates that policy transfer analysis is informed largely by isolated (or idiosyncratic) and empirically-manifest cases; second, successful cases (i.e. the fact of ostensible successful outcomes is used—a selection on the dependent variable), which are vulnerable to the post facto ergo sum logical fallacy. That is to say, they do not ask: When policy transfer does not happen, why does it not happen? The consequence of this trend is that theories of policy movement operate only as indices of successful transfer happenstance,1 a shortfall in our understanding of the agonist and antagonist inputs to the policy cycle that prompt, or do not, policy transfer processes and outcomes. Recent innovations in the policy mobilities and assemblages literature (McCann and Ward 2012; Savage 2019) have pushed against this wayward methodology by advocating an approach to understanding
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the policy creation process as one that hinges on the interplay of identities, subjectivities and circumstance, explored below. The aim of this chapter is to situate the book within a critical position on the empirics of policy transfer: here I suggest that it is not possible to understand, much less explain, the phenomenon of policy transfer by analytically divorcing ‘transfer’ processes from their embedding in the broader political context of public policy development. Policy transfer is as ambiguous as it is ubiquitous in contemporary politics. It is an explicitly acknowledged component of contemporary government which is often lauded as an important signifier of global political convergence. For academics, the policy transfer framework offers an opportunity to assimilate cross-disciplinary theories and apply these to the study of contemporary policy-making, providing important explanations of policy outcomes (successful and otherwise). Interdisciplinarity is seen as both a strength and a weakness of policy transfer as a theoretical approach to the analysis of past, present and future policy-making: it exemplifies the compatibility of many existing theories, from the New Institutionalism to Comparative Politics (Evans and Davies 1999). Against the backdrop of the global interdependencies and availability of policy-relevant ideas described in the previous chapter, understanding the circumstances in which policies are appropriately adopted (i.e. implemented in accordance with the public interest) is imperative.
Why Theorise Policy Transfer? As the previous chapter showed, policy transfer analysis has evolved in contemporary public administration to a point where it is established as a bona fide instrument of policy-making. For its theoretical pioneers, the value of policy transfer analysis was to be found in how it could be integrated easily into prescriptive frameworks readily understandable by and useful for policy-makers. In this vein, scholars such as Diane Stone, David Marsh and David Dolowitz argued that policy transfer analysis should provide policy-makers with guidelines on the appropriate means of engaging in this form of policy-making. Since policy-making is all about lesson-learning, two of the most important lessons a policy-maker can learn are, first, that foreign political systems often offer interesting laboratories of policy innovation, and second, that
it is often possible to use the work done in these laboratories in the development of policies within a policy-maker’s own political system. (Dolowitz 2003, p. 101)
For Stone, such enterprise is rooted in a concern for rigorous policymaking; thus, ‘it is important to understand policy transfer to help prevent it occurring in an indiscriminate manner on the basis of prevailing fashion’ (Stone 1999, p. 54). Mossberger and Wolman offer similar endorsement, contending that policy transfer analysis should: ‘provide information and guidelines to policy makers on how they should engage in policy transfer as prospective policy evaluation […] as a means of improving their ability to predict the effect of a policy before it is put in place’ (2003, p. 430, emphases in original). In positing notions of ‘best practice’, itself a term much transferred across the Western world of public administrators, policy-makers are encouraged to follow precepts designed to enable them to avoid ‘policy failure’ and encourage more efficient processes of transfer. As such, these models are deployed, in part at least, to: (i) firmly establish policy transfer as a tool of policy-making and (ii) increase its effectiveness where it is used. In so doing, policy transfer occupies both an analytical and normative status. It is not only firmly implanted into the policy-making process, but, more importantly, it is framed as a legitimate contributor to contemporary governance insofar as social scientists ‘can aid decision-makers in the processes of policy transfer’ (Stone 1999, p. 58). Indeed, Bomberg and Peterson note that: ‘As a method of policy-making, policy transfer may well ‘strengthen the state’, or at least enhance the autonomy of national officials to learn – or refuse to learn – lessons arising from best practice elsewhere’ (Bomberg and Peterson 2000, p. 14).
Policy Learning, Transfer and Diffusion The steadily expanding literature on policy transfer has attracted interdisciplinary interest for its conceptual accessibility and the relative ease with which it accommodates different empirical approaches. As shown in the previous chapter, the policy transfer framework developed by Dolowitz and Marsh drew from a range of early work by, inter alia, Rose (1993) and Bennett (1991) to posit a heuristic for policy transfer researchers that sought to capture and link the dynamics of how policy agents with
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structural forces promote the diffusion of policy ideas. The policy transfer heuristic regards policy transfer as: a process in which knowledge about policies, administrative arrangement several elements of policy as potentially transferable between jurisdictions: policies, administrative arrangements and institutions. (Dolowitz and Marsh 1996, p. 353; see also Dolowitz 1997)
For Dolowitz and Marsh, the process by which this occurs is contingent on gradations. These include a power relations gradient of voluntary to coercive transfer that underpins the motivations of a policy transfer; a policy content gradient of the extent of adoption of ‘policy goals, structure and content, policy instruments or administrative techniques; institutions, ideas, attitudes and concepts; and negative lessons’ (Dolowitz and Marsh 1996, pp. 349–350); and a policy locus that ranges from domestic political systems to other countries with ‘ideological and resources similarities’ (1996, p. 353). In more recent years, the theoretical assumptions of early policy transfer analysts have come under sustained scrutiny. McCann and Ward’s (2012) notion of a relational interconnectedness between actors raises a timely question of the networked relationship between policy regimes. To date, the policy transfer literature has held a relatively weak conception of the role of policy networks in the transfer process, specifically as policy transfer has been depicted by some of its key theorists as an impromptu process. Mark Evans describes policy networks involved in transfer as: ‘an ad hoc, action-oriented policy-making structure set up with the specific intention of engineering rapid policy change. They only exist for the time that a transfer is occurring’ (Evans 2004, p. 22). This perspective echoes his earlier work with Davies, which disclaimed the coalition-building aspects of policy transfer networks: Conversely, policy transfer networks are an ad hoc phenomenon set up with the specific intention of engineering policy change and thus no extensive process of bargaining or coalition building external to the transfer network is usually required. (Evans and Davies 1999, p. 376)
Rose (1993) and Bennett (1991) are considered to be the forbearers of the theoretical approach that is consolidated by the work of Dolowitz and Marsh 1996, Dolowitz et al. 1999 and Dolowitz and Marsh 2000 and, more recently, Evans and Davies (1999) and Evans (2004).
Understanding Policy ‘Transfer’, ‘Learning’ and Related Concepts Policy transfer is not a standalone concept; rather, it is the sum of a range of contributing models brought under the aegis of transfer. To start with a broad brush, they can be understood as allied concepts with a concern with the following: (1) they have a common interest in policies that are transported beyond their point of genesis (geographical, institutional or, indeed, temporal); (2) they have a common desire to tease out the possible patterns and processes that lie behind/impel such movements of policy. There are six concepts that meet these criteria outlined below in two sections that focus on their underlying meta-theoretical posture: structural and agency-focused approaches. Structural approaches • Policy convergence: The process by which countries become increasingly alike through policy learning , transfer, or international structural imperatives. • Policy diffusion: The study of how similar policy arrangements spread amongst and between states. Agency-focused approaches • Policy learning (or lesson-drawing): Considers where and how policy actors draw ideas about policy problems and solutions for domestic policy from foreign sources. • Policy transfer: The process by which policymakers adopt (voluntarily or otherwise) policies, or related components and institutional arrangements, from overseas. Ancillary approaches • Policy assemblage: Examines how policies ‘move’ between countries, and are produced in an uncertain combination of political, institutional and environmental context. • Transgovernmentalism : Concerned with groups of government actors working collectively in informal-above-the-state networks to develop collaborative responses to transnational issues.
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The development of these approaches has occurred separately in some instances, jointly in others, with most ‘borrowing’ insights into a process of cross-fertilisation. In this context, the following is divided into three sections: the first section of this chapter examines the principle structural theories that have contributed to the concept of policy transfer, specifically the approaches of policy convergence and diffusion theorists. The second section explores the agency-centred approaches, such as the concept of policy learning and lesson-drawing and the factors that impel policymakers to engage in this process. Here, I discuss the impact these theorists have had on recent attempts to theorise a policy transfer model by two sets of authors, Dolowitz and Marsh and Evans and Davies. Finally, the third section of this chapter expands the theoretical perimeters of policy transfer by engaging with two connected literatures on policy assemblages and transgovernmentalism.
Part I: Structural Explanations of Policy Mobility Policy Convergence Policy convergence is a macro-political analysis. Its primary aim is to describe increasing national conformity to uniform international policy models. This might occur through various mechanisms of policy transfer, policy diffusion, epistemic communities and so on, but policy convergence is distinct from these insofar as it is outcome-orientated rather than process-oriented. As such, the main concern for convergence theorists is to explain the significance of convergence as the outcome of an ensemble of policy processes. In this vein, it is the trajectory of various national policy environments which is important. Originally a sub-field of comparative public policy, policy convergence research has since evolved into a distinctive research field in its own right, drawing together strands of economics, political science, sociology and law (Bennett 1991, p. 217). Whilst its origins lie in 1960s and 1970s studies seeking to explain societal similarities in terms of industrial-economic development, a refocusing upon public policy occurred in the work of Inkeles (1980, 1981) whose detailed analysis of the various forms of societal convergence led to a clearer typology of the forms of convergence. The work of Kerr (1983) provides one of the first specific empirical studies of convergence. Kerr identified the seemingly increasing tendency of societies to grow more alike through the adoption of similar industrial infrastructures. As
one of the earliest attempts to systematise the study of state convergence in this way, this is taken as the standard definition of convergence: ‘the tendency of societies to grow more alike, to develop similarities in structures, processes and performance’ (Kerr 1983, p. 3; see also Drezner 2001, p. 53; Knill 2005). On this view, it is the process of ‘becoming more alike’, rather than being alike, which provides the central concern of convergence theory. In other words, similarity alone is not a basis for convergence; it is the movement, or trajectory, towards a common point which is the crucial component of convergence theory. This forms the basis of convergence theorists’ criticism: Birds sometimes sing and sometimes they don’t. In a similar vein, national policies sometimes converge and sometimes they don’t. Speaking very generally and somewhat cynically, this is the key insight to be derived from several decades of studies on the convergence of national policies. (Lenschow et al. 2005, p. 797)
As we saw in the previous chapter, debates on globalisation remain ongoing. Explanations of its key drivers are numerous. For materialists, globalisation has been fuelled by flows of finance and economic interdependence (Ohmae 1990, 2000) whilst, for sceptics of that position, globalisation was better understood as an ideational phenomenon, constructed upon and through dominant discourses about ‘inexorable’ global processes underpinned by the putative material successes of neoliberalism (Hay and Marsh 2000; Held 1999; Held and McGrew 2000). Others, meanwhile, have disputed the empirical claims of the hyperglobalisation thesis, arguing that efforts to coalesce regional groupings of states—‘regionalisation’—in institutions such as NAFTA, APEC or the EU have been mistaken for global economic interdependence (Hirst and Thompson 1996). It is important to note that these disparate claims about globalisation have been mirrored in convergence literatures. Indeed, as Drezner argues: ‘According to these theories, globalization increases the number and power of factors and actors that inexorably promote policy convergence’ (2005, pp. 841–842). The material claim this implies is one that stands at odds with those who instead argue that globalisation is, as it were, in the eye of the beholder: that policy officials who accept the thesis that globalisation is a material constraint on their action will act accordingly and, what is more, in so doing may produce the effects attributed to globalisation.
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Convergence Through Penetration Here, convergence is driven by coercion; so, countries are compelled, by an external actor, in some way to adopt, conform to, or harmonise with, a policy or set of policies. Yet, this does not necessarily involve an overt display of coercion, since countries may require a certain policy as a prerequisite of obtaining the benefit of an external process. For instance, membership of some economic communities necessitates acceptance of certain policies. Indeed, membership of the WTO requires an entire set of liberalising reforms based upon the principles laid out by the founding member states. In this sense, convergence through penetration is partially an institutional form of convergence. DiMaggio and Powell (1983) describe institutional convergence in similar terms to Bennett, differentiating between three forms of ‘institutional isomorphism’. In their view, institutional convergence can result from any one of three stimuli: coercive; mimetic; and normative. DiMaggio and Powell understand coercion principally in terms of the pressure institutions experience from citizens and clients to change. Mimetic convergence occurs when institutions face a lack of direction and, thus, look to others for ideas and models for reform, and ‘normative’ convergence is driven by shared professional values (Page 2000, p. 7). To an extent, there is overlap between the ideas of Bennett and DiMaggio and Powell. There is clear similarity between Bennett’s notion of elite networking and policy communities and DiMaggio and Powell’s description of normative convergence. Likewise, emulation and mimetic convergence both describe a process in which an institution or country is inspired by the models of reform developed by others. Measures of Convergence Whilst theorists broadly agree on what policy convergence is, there is considerably less agreement over how it should be studied. As a consequence, the policy convergence literature has, as it were, diverged. Nonetheless, there have been recent attempts to unify the literature and restore theoretical clarity in the field of Europeanisation and globalisation (see Knill 2005; Heichel et al. 2005; Drezner 2005; Holzinger and Knill 2005) and I return to this literature below. Policy convergence involves an analysis of outcomes, rather than processes, utilising (political) time (Heichel et al. 2005, p. 829), (political) space and (political) institutions as key variables. It is located in an international terrain in which governments are the key actors and
globalisation the universal, and inexorable, context (Drezner 2001). Yet questions remain of the analytical value offered by this approach, according to Knill (2005): • What explains the adoption of similar policies across countries over time? • Under which conditions can we expect that domestic policies converge or rather develop further apart? • Why do countries converge on some policies, but not on others? • What is the direction of policy convergence? • Do national policies converge at the regulatory top or bottom, and why? There are empirical (see Drezner 2001) and theoretical responses (Heichel et al. 2005) to this question. I will expound both responses briefly below. As noted above, globalisation plays a leading role in many arguments about convergence theory. Yet we must be careful to distinguish between globalisation as an inexorable and deterministic phenomenon and globalisation as a result of agency and intentional interaction. Drezner notes that convergence theorists offer divergent responses to the conundrums of state-agency versus global structural-determinacy and whether the main driver of globalisation is material or ideational: ‘These divergences mirror the divisions among international relations paradigms’ (2001, p. 55). Theorists who assert the ability of governments to retain agency (albeit an agency constrained by some structural forces) point to state cooperation over certain international regulatory arrangements. For these theorists, the interaction and interdependence of policy regulation are more accurately described as policy coordination, rather than policy convergence: ‘Policy coordination implies some agreement on the acceptable bounds of regulatory policies, but it does not mean that all states implement identical rules or regulations’ (Drezner 2001, p. 57). Convergence theorists are divided on the ‘source’ of convergence: economic or ideational. Some argue that the primacy of capital in a globalised world ‘pushes’ states in particular directions, so they modify their policies in order to retain competitiveness. On the other view, ‘states alter institutions and regulations because a set of beliefs has developed sufficient normative power that leaders fear looking like laggards if they do
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not adopt similar policies’ (Drezner 2001, p. 57). An example of this debate plays out in global tax regulation. Legrand (2018) explores the link between the Australian federal government efforts to tighten the tax regulations governing MNCs with emerging norms in the UK’s ‘Diverted Profits Tax’ (DPT) legislation and the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative. The case demonstrates the interplay of opportunity structures and imperatives in the production of both global standards and selective policy learning. Legrand finds that: policy transfer is a product of the contingent interplay of learning agents, ideas and structures that interact to generate conditions which: produce imperatives for policy action; privilege specific countries’ experiences; elevate policy ideas that resonate with prevailing paradigms; and limits the available opportunities for action (2018, p. 238).
Despite disagreements over the causal mechanisms that generate policy outcomes (and their relative convergence/divergence), convergence theorists agree that the state not only matters, but is pivotal to explanation: The governments are the agents reacting to problem pressure, experience gained elsewhere, pressure of powerful external actors, economic pressure, and legal obligation. Thus, governmental programmes are what count. (Holzinger and Knill 2005, p. 776)
Methodologically, this position embraces a plurality of independent variables causally leading to convergence as the dependent variable. For example, policy convergence may be the outcome of, amongst other things, mechanisms of policy transfer, lesson-drawing, emulation, elite networking or international policy promotion. Importantly, its growing significance is attached to increased interest in globalisation and internationalisation. The process of globalisation, and the state interdependencies that this is thought to bring, is the principal theoretical driver of policy convergence studies. Yet, perhaps because of the different disciplinary interests of particular theorists, the literature identifies a disparate range of causal mechanisms associated with convergence (Holzinger and Knill 2005, pp. 775–776). The differing analyses of globalisation are legion, and the attachment of policy convergence to these analyses has come at the cost of theoretical cohesion. As a result, as Holzinger and Knill argue: ‘Notwithstanding these enormous research efforts, it is generally
acknowledged that we still have a limited understanding of the causes and conditions of policy convergence’ (emphasis added, 2005, p. 775). While convergence studies seek to investigate policy harmonisation, little attention has been paid to unifying the convergence analytical framework itself. Drezner argues that this problem has significant repercussions: This problem leads to a certain redundancy in theory building, as disciplinary boundaries prevent ideas spreading across fields. This hinders accumulating knowledge. In the long run, the lack of accumulation is dangerous; without rigorous reviews of such arguments, policymakers are prone to accept misperceptions of globalization that are politically expedient. (Drezner 2001, p. 54)
Nonetheless, there is growing realisation that this disharmony demands attention. Holzinger and Knill (2005) were amongst the first to address this, noting that: ‘theoretical and conceptual heterogeneity poses important restrictions on the comparability of the empirical findings gained in different convergence studies’ (Holzinger and Knill 2005, p. 776). To address the theoretical and conceptual shortcomings of the policy convergence literature, they derive three key indicators of policy convergence from the variables identified by convergence theorists: 1. The degree of convergence. 2. The direction of convergence. 3. The scope of convergence. From these three indicators, they claim, it is possible to isolate the causal mechanisms of convergence.2 Their aim in identifying these mechanisms is: ‘to develop testable hypotheses with respect to degree, direction, and scope of cross-national policy convergence for each mechanism’ (Holzinger and Knill 2005, p. 786). There is a fundamental limitation of policy convergence which is rooted in its guiding ontology. Insofar as policy convergence involves a study of political outcomes and trajectories, it is predicated upon a conception of time and space that is two-dimensional. So, time is presented as a discrete category; there is a chronological past, present and future. Similarly, what is deemed to be politically similar is based upon an arbitrary set of values that can be rendered empirically comparable; thus, only political values that are comparable and epistemologically
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accessible are included in the analysis. The result of this is that time is adopted as the constant variable, and the relative variability of (empirically comparable) political values is measured. Given this view, it seems commonsensical to observe that, at any given moment in a chronology of political time, states are either converging or diverging (to some degree). For example, Heichel et al. argue (2005, p. 829): ‘The basic approach to operationalize the time-frame in genuine convergence studies would be to establish the initial degree of policy similarity between the observed units in t1 , and compare it to a second measurement at point t2 ’. Here, I want to draw attention to this underlying theoretical basis of convergence theory. Measurements taken in this way, synchronically, are subject to some empirical limitations: (i) they fail to capture fluctuations in changes between the two time-points; (ii) the arbitrary selection of the start-point and end-point of analysis introduces ‘selection bias’. There might be qualitatively different outcomes with an altered time frame; and (iii) only political values/outcomes that can be expressed empirically are included. Theoretically, the juxtaposition of convergence with divergence is a binary opposition with ontological implications, insofar as it introduces a conception of the ‘real’ world a priori into its findings. It is also an ontological position which underpins particular empirical measures. Thus, the convergence theorist states that at x point in time, y countries are becoming more, or less, alike in terms of their political configuration. Or, the convergence theorist might say that between time-points a and b, countries i, ii and iii are converging on point z, moving away from point x. The notion that the ‘real’ world displays two-dimensional attributes of convergence/divergence is based upon several questionable ontological and epistemological assumptions. Further, and crucially, it replicates the oft-cited criticism of realism that the state is treated as an unvarying base unit of analysis. Finally: So far, there has been no attempt to think more systematically about the range of domestic structures – cultural, institutional and economic – that might affect the process of ‘import’ and about their relative importance with respect to the nature of the diffusing ‘object’ in question. (Lenschow et al. 2005, p. 799)
At best, convergence theory can offer some heuristic insights into political homogeneity. At worst, it offers an analysis based upon a two-dimensional scale that stipulates a misleading process of ‘becoming more/less alike’. This carries important implications: foremostly, it signals the primacy of assessing and predicting political verisimilitude above all else. Policy Diffusion Diffusion of innovations refers to the spread of abstract ideas and concepts, technical information, and actual practices within a social system, where the spread denotes flow or movement from a source to an adopter, typically via communication and influence. (Wejnert 2002, p. 297)
The literatures on policy convergence and policy diffusion share three important common features: (1) both look to explain the impact that international macro-political structures have on domestic policy environments; (2) both view policy transfer and policy learning as contributory processes leading to convergence and diffusion, respectively; and (3) they both privilege the importance of outcomes over process. Diffusion is not a process that occurs as a result of the actions of state actors; rather, it is a term used to describe a mechanistic process (although diffusion authors would disagree with that terminology) without agency. If it seems unfair to stress the ‘agent-less’ nature of diffusion theory, then it ought to be noted that actors feature analytically, but do so only as rational-actor units. The overwhelming concern of diffusion theorists has been to illuminate the patterns of policy diffusion in an international matrix. Diffusion theory is not solely rooted in policy studies. Wejnert (2002, p. 297) traces diffusion theory back to a 1903 study of the dissemination of farming innovations and it is widely accepted that the diffusion of ‘innovations’ (technological or social) underpins the research interest in this area (see Berry and Berry 1990; Berry 1994). In fact, the feature common to the dominant strands of diffusion theory is the role of communication: The degree of vertical integration in the international system – the existence of transnational communication channels – is crucial for the course of policy diffusion […] Such channels increase the prospects for policy diffusion. (Tews et al. 2003, p. 572)
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Diffusion theorists concentrate upon three features of policy innovation: its internal determinants; regional diffusion; and national interaction (Berry 1994). Internal determinants are understood as those impulses, imperatives or decisions that occur in isolation from the international context that gives rise to certain policy innovations; that is, in such a case of diffusion only domestic influences are at work. Regional diffusion refers to the gradual uptake of a policy innovation based on the proximity of one country to others: in this form of diffusion, the likelihood of policy being adopted increases the more other countries adopt that policy. National interaction is, by contrast, a more proactive notion of diffusion, whereby the number of interactions between different state policy officials is seen to be proportional to the likelihood that one or more policies will be exchanged. Although these factors are acknowledged to exist separately, in practice the second two, regional diffusion and national interaction, are elided and seen as the same process with slightly differing emphases. For the former, the passive spread of policy poses an ontological problem of explaining policy change without referring to the actions of intentional actors. Methodologically, they are left with a process without subjects. The ‘national interaction’ approach, on the other hand, overcomes this problem through its emphasis on agential interaction which eases the methodological headache by explaining policy diffusion without agents. The ‘internal determinants’ approach attracted criticism for adopting binding assumptions about the way in which the nation state creates policy. As Berry notes: ‘An implicit assumption of the pure internal determinants model is that the states’ policymaking processes are fully independent, so that no state is uninfluenced by any other’ (emphasis in original, Berry 1994, p. 442). Thus, Berry and Berry (1990, 1992) argued that an alternative means of studying state policy innovation was necessary and developed their model of event history analysis. This model, it is suggested, is a more appropriate method for the study of policy innovation because it: ‘permits the empirical testing of models incorporating both internal determinants and diffusion effects’ (Berry 1994, p. 443). Authors tend to use the terms convergence and diffusion interchangeably. Indeed, as Lenschow et al. argue: The literature on policy convergence shares the conclusions of those sociological diffusion studies emphasizing the importance of resonance between the exported ‘object’ and the cultural and institutional setting of the potential importer. (2005, p. 799)
Yet, whilst policy convergence analysis seeks to explain trajectory as a result of policy, policy diffusion analysis looks to the stage prior to trajectory: the spread of policy itself. Interestingly, whilst convergence is seen as a potential outcome of both diffusion and policy processes (such as policy learning, transfer and networks), diffusion is also seen to caused by those same policy processes. Thus, diffusion might be viewed as an intermediary phenomenon, which may, or may not, occur in a given policy area and give rise to certain types of convergence. For diffusion theorists, policy transfer represents an integral process involved in diffusion. The links that lead to transfer opportunities are viewed as differentiated ‘channels’ through which diffusion occurs: Economic, political and societal linkages between nation-states offer channels for the transfer of policies across countries. These channels differ with regard to the dominant mechanism by which policy transfer occurs. (Tews et al. 2003, p. 572)
In this schema, policy transfer is viewed as a mechanism of diffusion, rather than as, say, a representation of underlying agential motivations. Such underlying motivations are seen as qualitatively separate from the mechanism insofar as transfer mechanisms are triggered for differing reasons. One of the reasons, according to diffusion theory, that transfer mechanisms are triggered is because states may often be anxious to be seen as progressive and as ‘up-to-date’ as its contemporaries (Drezner 2001). This ideational approach to diffusion is developed through accounts of international institutions that endorse certain policy agendas. In this vein, international institutions are seen as primary proponents of diffused policies, especially in policy areas of collective interest, such as the environment: ‘Ideational competition may become the driving force of policy emulation following the establishment of environmental protection as an internationally accepted and shared norm’ (Tews et al. 2003, p. 575). The classic illustration of ideational competition may be found in the OECD’s peer review mechanism. In peer reviews, the policy field (under review) of a country is scrutinised by fellow OECD member countries to help: ‘improve its policymaking, adopt best practices and comply with established standards and principles’ (Pagani 2002, p. 2). As such, moral pressure is the key driver behind this policy-learning process. For March and Olsen, this represents a channel for international institutions, and
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specifically the OECD, to insinuate themselves into the policy discourse of public officials: Whether a similar program can accomplish a similar integration at an international level is certainly in doubt, but when organizations such as the OECD call attention to differences between ‘‘leaders’’ and ‘‘laggards’’ among countries in terms of their willingness and ability to adopt what is defined as a modern, democratic, and economically efficient public sector, they modify the reference groups of national bureaucrats, their aspirations, and their behavior. (March and Olsen 1998, p. 961)
Compare the insight of March and Olsen above with the stated aim of the OECD peer review mechanism: Whatever the subject under consideration, or the type of review, such exercises [peer reviews] are carried out on a regular basis, and each one results in a published report that assesses such accomplishments, spells out shortfalls and makes recommendations. So if one review of a country’s economy expresses concern about inflexible labour practices, or rampant inflation, the next exercise will examine whether the state has acted on the advice given by its peers and whether the situation has improved. (Pagani 2002, p. 55; See Legrand and Vas 2014)
For diffusion theorists, the empirical evidence of the ideational influence of international institutions is overwhelming. Yet, whilst ideational motivations play a leading role in many diffusion analyses, others are careful not to ignore what they see as the structural imperatives resulting from globalisation and increased political interdependence. For some, retaining economic competitiveness leads directly to diffusion outcomes: ‘National policymakers may be forced by considerations of competitiveness to adopt the innovative policy measures of pioneers in order to avoid significant economic or administrative adjustment costs’ (Tews et al. 2003, p. 575). Here, the parallel with convergence theory is clear: the increased interdependence of economic and political decision-making leads to antiisolationist discourses emphasising mutual policy aims and outcomes. Environmental regulation provides the obvious example here, because the policies of each country contribute to a shared outcome. The notion of shared aims and outcomes is the focal point of both policy diffusion and convergence analysis. Where there are shared interests, shared
policy approaches are deemed to be more likely. The process of sharing, however, is a direct function of the levels of communication that exist between states and actors, a point asserted by Tews et al.: Political and societal interlinkages between nation-states and actors within and across states offer channels of diffusion which enable the transfer of problem perceptions, ideas and policy innovations across countries and to the level of international organisations. These may function as multipliers of knowledge dissemination and/or ideational catalysts of policy convergence. (Tews et al. 2003, p. 575)
Earlier, it was noted that diffusion theory is, essentially, a theory which struggles to comfortably accommodate the role of agency. This requires qualification. We have seen how diffusion theorists emphasise the importance of communication and shared interests. Clearly, these are roles that must be filled by agents with appropriate decision-making capacity. Accordingly, agents matter in this analysis. However, the decision-making capabilities imputed to these actors are nominally those of rational actors: policies have greater diffusion potential where the two sets of policy officials (importer/exporter) are rational utility-maximisers. That is, they are cognisant of the appropriate options, have access to appropriate expertise to make them aware of the ‘problem issues’ and, thus, make informed— read ‘rational’—decisions accordingly.3 March and Olsen summarise the two views of agency: On the one side are those who see action as driven by a logic of anticipated consequences and prior preferences. On the other side are those who see action as driven by a logic of appropriateness and senses of identity. (March and Olsen 1998, p. 949)
Diffusion theory is clearly rooted in the notion that actors formulate decisions on the basis of ‘anticipated consequences’. This point will be more extensively explored later; here, it is important to emphasise that agents in the diffusion schema are seen as rational actors. As such, their role in diffusion is responsive, rather than reflexive. As rational actors, their decisions are determined by the structured environment in which they find themselves. Accordingly, the stimulus for diffusion is extrinsic to the actor and intrinsic to the context. Thus, the diffusion of policy occurs as a function of the structural characteristics of the state (or ‘internal determinants’, to use the diffusionist term) and the regional context.
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Part II: Agency Policy Learning and Lesson-Drawing The notion of lesson-drawing was developed by Rose in response to traditional rationalist accounts of policy-making (James and Lodge 2016) as a mean way of explaining the dynamics that policy-makers encounter in formulating policy solutions. Rose argues that policy-makers take advantage of both negative and positive experience gained in one area and apply the value of that experience in other areas of policy development. He puts it simply: ‘If the lesson is positive, a policy that works is transferred, with suitable adaptations. If it is negative, observers learn what not to do from watching the mistakes of others’ (1993, p. 4). The process of lesson-drawing is, as it implies, an intentionalist one whereby policy-makers actively seek out policy solutions from appropriate sources. Rose sees lesson-drawing as a deductive, and not an inductive, activity (Evans and Davies 1999, p. 366), in so much as policy-makers are tasked to research, identify and develop models of practice based on the experiences of other countries: ‘Lesson-drawing creates a comparative advantage from the empirical observation that countries deal with common problems differently and differ in the degree to which their policies are deemed successful’ (Rose 2002, p. 5). There is a clearly defined linearity to lesson-drawing as a process which involves identification of the problem, active research to find potentially helpful experiences elsewhere and then utilisation of this experience to inform/shape a policy solution. Yet, the level and extent of lesson-drawing is contingent (1993, p. 6). The local and cultural settings of the importing country complicate direct reproduction of a policy; therefore, policy-makers often must act reflexively to extract components of a policy to ensure that it may be transplanted from the exporting to the importing country successfully: ‘The object of lesson-drawing is to adapt and adopt in one’s own country a programme already successful in another, and thus reduce future differences in achievement’ (Rose 1993, p. 5). According to Rose, there are several degrees of lesson-drawing in this sense: copying, or direct reproduction of a policy; emulation, in contrast to ‘copying’, ‘accepts that a particular programme elsewhere provides the best standard for designing legislation at home, albeit requiring adaptation to take different national circumstances into account’ (1993, p. 21); a hybrid conjoins elements from two different programmes to create a new model; synthesis, similarly to hybrid, harmonises familiar components of existing programmes;
and inspiration (Rose prefers to label this ‘speculation’ rather than lessondrawing), where a policy-maker witnesses the effects and potential of a programm without studying its mechanics and thus draws inspiration (1993, p. 22). Lesson-drawing in this respect is oriented towards the implementation of public policy. In contrast to diffusion and convergence theory, it looks specifically at the processes associated with agential decision-making in public policy arenas. Perhaps it is for this reason that references to policy learning and lesson-drawing are more common in guidance written for public policy-makers in central government and international institutions alike. Such guidance is seen to provide a transparent decision-making process which avoids the determinacy—and inexorability—involved in the ideas of convergence and diffusion. At this point, it is worth making clear the distinction—albeit a small one—between policy learning and lesson-drawing. For Rose, lessondrawing is predominantly about policy-makers’ gleaning knowledge from the experiences of policy-makers overseas. Policy learning, however, is not rooted in any particular political strata: policy learning occurs at all socio-political levels and is thus regarded as a tool of policy-making removed from domestic/overseas factors. In this respect, policy learning has benefited from its widened applicability and has recently informed developments in policy implementation. Dunlop and Radaelli identify four types of policy learning: a form of reflexive learning by policy actors seeking to deepen their policy knowledge; the policy learning that occurs in epistemic communities (outlined below); policy learning that occurs between policy actors as an ‘unintended product of dense systems of interaction’; and learning that happens with constraints in the ‘shadow of hierarchy’ (2013, pp. 603–604). Dunlop and Radaelli’s typology broadens the learning concepts by recognising the structural influences of bureaucracy in the learning process. Crucially, policy learning can not only be recognised as a form of policy transfer, but it also captures a wider array of learning sources and types, including those that do not involve other jurisdictions (see Dunlop 2017). There is also a close association between policy learning and policy implementation. Indeed, as an indication of the importance placed upon implementation, the Economic and Social Research Council (UK) commissioned a seminar series to this effect: ‘Implementing Public Policy: Learning from Each Other’ (2004). Others argue that the implementation of policy is all about learning—for example, Schofield and Sausman
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(2004) argue that policy implementation is not an automatic process. Rather, public policy managers undergo reflexive learning processes to understand how best to translate stated policy goals to actual policy outcomes (2004, p. 284; see also Sabatier 1986; O’Toole 2000). If Rose’s conception of policy learning provides the basic theoretical framework of policy learning, it is Peter Hall’s discussion of policy paradigms that adds the necessary nuance. For Hall, the notions of policy learning and policy change are inextricably linked. Policy change occurs as a result of agents’ interventions, but they do not act arbitrarily. Ideas are seen as key drivers in shifting the direction and aims of policy. Yet there is an important distinction to be made: ‘Policy’ implies a singularity of design, purpose and function. Hall argues that, to understand the impact that policy learning can have on policy change, we must differentiate between the forms policy can take: ‘In order to do so, we can think of policymaking as a process that usually involves three central variables: the overarching goals that guide policy in a particular field, the techniques or policy instruments used to attain those goals, and the precise settings of these instruments’ (Hall 1993, p. 278). In distinguishing between forms of policy, Hall introduces his main concern: the forms that learning and change may take. To do so, Hall utilises Kuhn’s conception of scientific paradigmatic change to argue that policy shifts can be conceptualised as first-, second- or third-order change (1993, p. 279). Before we examine this central thesis, however, we need to recognise that, for Hall, policies are products of prevailing institutional cultures and discourses. The prevailing institutional climate gives content to policy-makers’ conception of policy priorities, policy goals, policy implementation and so on. However, the ideas that exist in the prevailing climate are not necessarily in harmony and may constrain the development of certain ideas, as: ‘the terms of political discourse privilege some lines of policy over others, and the struggle both for advantage within the prevailing terms of discourse and for leverage with which to alter the terms of political discourse is the perennial feature of politics’ (1993, pp. 289–290). So, crucially, policy decisions are made in a pre-structured, asymmetric, policy process. Change in policy direction, then, occurs through the insinuation of ideas into this policy climate; for Hall such ideational change is synonymous with learning: ‘Learning is conventionally said to occur when individuals assimilate new information, including that based on past experience, and apply it to their subsequent actions’. (Hall 1993, p. 278)
Indeed, the argument that ‘In order to understand how social learning takes place, we also need a more complete account of the role that ideas play in the policy process’ (Hall 1993, p. 279) places Hall firmly at odds with policy convergence and diffusion theorists. For, in denying the predominance of socio-economic structures in the policy process, Hall prioritises agency (and its associated structuring effects) because, for him, it is the ideas of agents themselves who create and recreate their structured discursive context. This background configuration of ideas and discourse underpins Hall’s analysis of paradigmatic change. In discussing his three orders of change, Hall claims that: First and second order change can be seen as cases of “normal policymaking,” namely of a process that adjusts policy without challenging the overall terms of a given policy paradigm… Third order change, by contrast, is likely to reflect a very different process, marked by the radical changes in the overarching terms of policy discourse associated with a “paradigm shift”. (Hall 1993, p. 279)
To clarify this further, Hall’s principal concern is to demonstrate the efficacy of shifts in ideas and ways of learning within institutions. Shifts in policy, however, do not occur in a learning vacuum. Policy-makers hold specific ideas about the task of specific policies. Many of these ideas are institutionally ‘given’: More precisely, policymakers customarily work within a framework of ideas and standards that specifies not only the goals of policy and the kind of instruments that can be used to attain them, but also the very nature of the problems they are meant to be addressing. (Hall 1993, p. 279)
On Hall’s view, the accumulation of information in a learning process lies at the very centre of policy change. This accumulation constantly and directly informs agents’ conceptions of what is achievable: Therefore, we can define social learning as a deliberate attempt to adjust the goals or techniques of policy in response to past experiences and new information. Learning is indicated when policy changes as the result of such a process. (Hall 1993, p. 278)
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It is this claim that locates the process of policy learning within institutions and places it at the centre of policy change. For Hall, the magnitude of policy changes can be minor and leave the overarching policy paradigm intact. First- and second-order change, for example, retain: ‘the broad continuities usually found in patterns of policy’ (1993, p. 279). By contrast, third-order change is a ‘more disjunctive process associated with periodic discontinuities in policy’ (1993, p. 279). At this level, the rhythm of governance is interrupted and ‘marked by the radical changes in the overarching terms of the policy discourse associated with a “paradigm shift”’ (1993, p. 279). Institutionalising Policy Learning At this point, our concern is less with the implication of paradigm shifts, and more with the way in which ideas are injected into the discourse of policy learning (although the notion of third-order change will be returned to later). Hall’s theory restores agents to their institutional context and explains how policy discourses influence the resonance of certain ideas: The principle contribution of a social learning perspective is to draw out attention to the role of ideas in politics. It reminds us that state-society relations can not adequately be described entirely in terms of the ‘pressures’ that each exerts on the other, whether through parties, organized interests, administrative organs, or policy networks. (Hall 1993, p. 289)
What does this add to our understanding of lesson-drawing and policy learning? Whilst Rose’s conception of lesson-drawing indicates the motivation of policy-makers in looking elsewhere, and perhaps offers an insight into some of the benefits, his analysis does not account explicitly for the institutional context. In addition, it is the role of the institution and ideational change which adds a valuable theoretical nuance to policy learning. The agents that ‘matter’ in any given process of lessondrawing are not solely those involved as lesson-drawers. Hall’s framework demonstrates that agents who are involved in the policy discourse of an institution are as important in defining ‘what counts’ and, thus, have indirect influence over the veracity of competing ideas, whether from endogenous sources or elsewhere. For Lenschow et al., the part played by ideas in the policy process creates its own environmental structure:
Similar to the literature on policy convergence, analysts of policy learning perceive the process of change as a culturally and institutionally prestructured process. Actors’ choices with respect to following, adapting or ignoring foreign examples are influenced by dominant ideas (policy paradigms or even more general views of the world) and institutional structures at home. (Lenschow et al. 2005, p. 800)
In this sense, intentionalism qua policy learning is tempered by the ideational context. It is not clear whether this sort of structure is ‘determinate’, rather than ‘influential’ for Lenschow et al., but this criticism suggests a more fundamental issue at the heart of both lesson-drawing and policy learning which stems from their overwhelming emphasis on intentionalism. In both concepts, the underlying stimuli for policy change are entirely based on agency. Neither contextual factors, imperatives nor, indeed, contingency are understood as sources for policy change: [W]hile the approach [lesson-drawing] is important to our understanding of the nature of the process of transfer, it has shortcomings (due to the limited reflection on the role of exogenous forces in processes of lessondrawing) in explaining why policy transfer takes place in the first place. (Evans 2006, p. 482)
With this in mind, it is appropriate to turn to the use that policy transfer analysis has made of policy learning and lesson-drawing. In the following section, I locate the insights of lesson-drawing and policy learning and outline the nuance applied by policy transfer theorists. Policy Transfer Dolowitz and Marsh define policy transfer as: ‘[T]he process by which knowledge about policies, administrative arrangements, institutions and ideas in one political system (past or present) is used in the development of policies, administrative arrangements and ideas in another political system’ (Dolowitz and Marsh 2000, p. 5). This definition emphasises the transfer of knowledge vis-à-vis ideas, rather than direct adoptions of the technicalities of policy instruments. Indeed, it is knowledge about policies rather than the policies themselves with which Dolowitz and Marsh seem to be concerned. This is a relevant insight into our understanding of policy, since policies are, in some ways, the marriage of ideas and action. As Pressman and Wildavsky comment: ‘The word ‘program’…
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can be conceived of as a system in which each element is dependent on the other… Policies imply theories… Policies become programs when, by authoritative action, the initial conditions are created’ (Pressman and Wildavsky 1984, cited in Dolowitz and Marsh 2000). Clearly, it is important to differentiate between the underpinning ideas of policy and the practical strategies they embody to realise their goals. Dolowitz and Marsh incorporate the lesson-drawing identified by Rose into a more sophisticated model of policy transfer, distinguishing between voluntary adoption of policies and coercive policy transfer. They argue that ‘coercive’ transfer is an important facet of transfer, given that countries, institutions and organisations often have the capacity to force a country to adopt a certain policy—for example, NGOs who make loan arrangements conditional on the adoption of certain policies, termed ‘conditionality’. Their conceptual model of policy transfer has been developed incrementally over several articles and is arranged around seven key questions: • Why do actors engage in policy transfer? (1996) • Who are the key actors involved in the policy transfer process? (1996) • What is transferred? (1996) • From where are the lessons drawn? (1996) • What are the different degrees of transfer? (1999) • What restricts or facilitates the policy transfer process? (1996) • How is the process of policy transfer related to policy ‘success’ or ‘failure’? (2000) Dolowitz and Marsh look to develop their conceptual framework in relation to these seven questions. In their view, actors engage in policy transfer for any number of reasons. Principally, they claim: ‘as technological advances have made it easier and faster for policy-makers to communicate with each other, the occurrences of policy transfer have increased’ (2000, p. 6). In addition, they suggest that globalisation has compelled nations to emulate the economic policies of countries who have been successful in navigating the neoliberal environment (2000, p. 6). This international dimension is reinforced by the expansion of international institutions capable of orchestrating common regional policies, such as the OECD, the EU or the IMF.
They identify nine categories of actors likely to become involved in the policy transfer policy: elected officials, political parties, bureaucrats/civil servants, pressure groups, policy entrepreneurs and experts, transnational corporations, think tanks, supranational governmental and nongovernmental institutions and consultants (2000, p. 10). This exhaustive list embraces almost every sort of actor likely to get involved in any political process and thus reinforces Dolowitz and Marsh’s assertion that policy transfer is an endemic feature of modern governance. Nonetheless, Dolowitz and Marsh problematise the distinction between ‘borrower’ and ‘lender’, suggesting that nations are seldom solely importers or exporters of policies. They similarly point out that the difference between voluntary and coercive transfers is far from a simple one, since nations that find themselves in a situation where they are forced to, say, adopt a particular policy approach as a condition for assistance from the IMF often retain the choice of which consultancy to use, and not all consultancies will recommend the same policy solution (2000, p. 11). In this sense, Dolowitz and Marsh delineate a space for agency within the parameters of coercion. Central to their concept of transfer is, of course, the substance of what is transferred. More than anything else, this feature of the Dolowitz and Marsh model lends itself to ambiguity through its catholic definition of what may be transferred. In their view, ‘policy goals, policy content, policy instruments, policy programs, institutions, ideologies, ideas and attitudes and negative lessons’ (2000, p. 12) can all be transferred. However, identifying instances of ideological, ideational and attitudinal transfers and, especially, negative lessons is difficult. To take ‘negative lessons’ as an example, unless such a transfer is explicitly acknowledged, the onus is placed upon a researcher to prove negative; that is, a nation didn’t implement a particular policy because of what occurred elsewhere. Dolowitz and Marsh contend that lessons may be drawn from the international, national and local levels of governance (2000, p. 12). In so doing, they stress that policy transfer can be insular or domestic as well as an international process whereby actors look within their political system for possible policy solutions. Finally, they argue: ‘Policy transfer is not an all-or-nothing process’ (2000, p. 13). For Dolowitz and Marsh, the gradations of Rose’s lesson-drawing serve as a convenient typology, although they slightly change one or two categories: • Copying : direct and/or complete policy transfer. • Emulation: a transfer of the underlying ideas of a policy.
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• Combinations: a fusion of two or more policies. • Inspiration: ‘where a policy in another jurisdiction may inspire a policy change, but where the final outcome does not actually draw upon the original’ (2000, p. 13). As Rose stresses, the process of transfer is a contingent one, driven by instrumental actors seeking to derive suitable policy solutions from the number of case examples available to them. Dolowitz and Marsh further note that the type of transfer likely to occur is subject to a number of preconditions, such as the actors involved in the process, the resources and time they have available to them, the nature of the ‘problem’ they face and the point within the transfer process at which the transfer occurs (2000, p. 13). Perhaps the most distinctive feature of policy transfers is the circumstances under which transfer occurs. Dolowitz and Marsh argue that policy transfer is a process initiated either voluntarily or coercively. Voluntary mechanisms of transfer parallel Rose’s notion of lesson-drawing. Yet, the voluntary mechanisms of transfer are subject to agents’ perception and knowledge of their environment. In this sense, voluntary policy transfer is understood to be an intentionalist process whereby strategic agents look to overcome structural obstacles to import policies that match their own preferences. The extent to which they are able to fully comprehend the contextual factors of transfer, however, is acknowledged to be potentially imperfect. Thus, rationality and bounded rationality play a key role in the model of voluntary policy transfer that Dolowitz and Marsh describe. They argue that paucity of information, incomplete knowledge of transfer mechanisms and inaccurate assessments of the ‘real’ situation affect policy-makers’ decision-making (2000, p. 14). Most policy-makers, they argue, ‘act with limited information, within the confines of ‘bounded rationality’ (2000, p. 14). Coercive mechanisms, by contrast, imply that a power relationship exists whereby one country is forced to import and apply a particular policy. There are two related points here. Firstly, policy transfer in this sense does not necessarily imply an export/import relationship between two countries. Indeed, the imported policy may not necessarily have been implemented anywhere else before at all. Secondly, this form of transfer is distinct from policy transfer which results from some imperative, domestic or otherwise. Coercion clearly describes a twoway relationship where an agency/institution/country A has the ability and resources to force country/agency/institution B to adopt a certain
policy in one form or another. To reinforce this argument, Dolowitz and Marsh cite examples where international institutions have been able to enforce ‘conditionality’ on a developing nation, whereby economic aid is withheld until certain domestic reforms or policies are adopted (2000, p. 11). Table 2.1 summarises the continuum from voluntary to coercive transfer. Dolowitz and Marsh argue that policy transfers often fail for one of three reasons: uninformed transfer; incomplete transfer; and inappropriate transfer: 1. Uninformed transfer refers to a transfer in which the adopting country has failed to fully collate information about the way a policy should be implemented and how it operates. 2. Incomplete transfer describes instances where the adopting country fails to import components crucial to the success of the policy itself. 3. Inappropriate transfer stresses that some policies are incompatible with the institutional, political or economic environment of the adopting country, thereby leading to failure (2000, p. 17). Table 2.1 The policy transfer continuum Why Transfer? Continuum Want to Voluntary Lesson Drawing (Perfect Rationality)
…………………………… Mixtures Lesson Drawing (Bounded Rationality) International Pressures (Image) (Consensus) (Perceptions) Externalities Conditionality (Loans) (Conditions attached to Business Activity) Obligations
Source Table taken from Dolowitz and Marsh (2000, p. 9)
Have to Coercive Direct Imposition
Pressure Groups Political Parties
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To illustrate these facets of policy failure, Dolowitz and Marsh focus on one example taken from the transfer of Child Support policy from the USA to the UK. In other papers, Dolowitz and Marsh have similarly undertaken analyses of US-UK transfers in employment policy (Dolowitz 1997), electoral strategy (Dolowitz et al. 1999) and welfare provision (Dolowitz 1997). The Dolowitz and Marsh model presents a comprehensive list of the fundamental questions that face researchers in policy transfer. In demarcating the ‘who, what, where, when’ of policy transfer, Dolowitz and Marsh have consolidated an orthodoxy of policy transfer that has served as a roadmap for subsequent researchers in associated disciplines. It also operates as a staging post for their own empirical examinations of instances of transfer between, particularly, the UK and the USA (Dolowitz 1997). As noted above, significant components of their framework have been used in analysis of transfers in areas, for example, anthropology (Stubbs 2005), criminology (Jones and Newburn 2002), constitutional reform (Furlong 2001) and European policy (Annesley 2003). It has, however, been developed by others, notably Evans and Davies, whose work is discussed next. Rose’s notion of lesson-drawing argues that the policy process is often affected by the way in which policy-makers draw on the experiences of other countries, both negative and positive. Rose claims that this process is partially driven by policy advisors who: ‘assume universality, treating their favoured policies as completely fungible’ (2002, p. 3). In a response to such ideas, Rose sets out what he considers to be the salient preconditions of lesson-drawing and offers a typology of the lesson-drawing in its various forms. Yet, whilst Rose’s analysis of policy formulation views lesson-drawing as simply one of the vehicles used in creating policy, Bennett’s analysis is outcome-oriented. He argues that orthodox perspectives on state convergence are inflexible and narrowly defined. Accordingly, Bennett delimits four forms of convergence that may be independent or congruent and, most importantly, are seen to be operable within a range of theoretical frameworks. In this sense, Bennett does not view his categories as a theory or framework in their own right, merely viewing his work as an adjustment to the rigid typologies previously offered. The policy transfer framework established by Dolowitz and Marsh represents the first serious attempt to assimilate the disparate analyses of the forms of policy-making that draw on international policy content.
The ‘Dolowitz and Marsh Model’ is framed by open reference to the work of both Bennett and Rose, subsuming some of their concepts into their overall framework. Importantly, Dolowitz and Marsh introduce a continuum of transfer—distinguishing between notions of ‘voluntary’ and ‘coercive’ transfer. In recent work, they have applied their framework to analyses of the relationship between policy-makers in the USA and the UK. However, their framework has been used to underpin work in Europeanisation and Integrationism in general (see Annesley 2003; Page 2000; Radaelli 2000; Wessels 1997). Connecting Structure and Agency: The Multi-level Approach The multi-level approach (hereafter the MLA) deploys a wide range of analytical approaches as a conceptual framework for policy transfer, including epistemic communities (Haas 1992), policy networks (Marsh and Rhodes 1992), policy paradigms (Hall 1993), the international institutional approach (Stone 1999), lesson-drawing (Rose 1993) and organisational learning (Common 2004). This model of policy transfer was originally forged by Mark Evans and Jonathan Davies (1999) and has been updated more recently by Evans (2004) in Policy Transfer in Global Perspective. Evans and Davies argued that whilst policy transfer analysis had an advanced understanding of policy learning and change, it remained beset by a number of conceptual problems: (i) Contemporary policy transfer has failed to consider the questions of ‘to what extent and why policy transfer has become widespread throughout western democracies in the course of the past two decades’ (1999, p. 365). (ii) Although the literature on policy transfer discusses the impact that macro-level variables have had on process of transfers, the link between state structures and agency remains ‘underdeveloped’. (iii) Policy transfer analysis needs to account for the role played in precipitating policy transfers at an interorganisational level; policy network analysis and the epistemic communities approach both offer the potential for filling this vital conceptual gap (1999, p. 365).
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(iv) The delineation of the ‘policy transfer’ boundaries is overly tenuous. Its theoretical approach is too ‘all-embracing’: ‘it is necessary to classify the phenomenon by scope’ (1999, p. 366). These conceptual problems signpost the directions which Evans and Davies argue that policy transfer should take. Critically, points (ii) and (iii) serve as the theoretical underpinnings of their approach. On the one hand, the conceptual focus of the MLA is upon ‘policy networks’ and the way in which policy-makers acquire knowledge. The policy network is: ‘an ad hoc, action oriented policy-making structure set up with the specific intention of engineering rapid policy change. They only exist for the time that a transfer is occurring’ (Evans 2004, p. 22). On the other hand, the ambition of the MLA is to reconcile competing micro-level and macrolevel explanations within a unified analysis. Indeed, they seek to create: ‘an approach that allows for a multi-level empirical investigation of the relationship between structure and agency’ (Evans 2004, p. 22). In so doing, their overarching objective is to increase the explanatory capacity of policy transfer analysis that allows for ‘the investigation of the role of global, international and/or transnational forces; state-centred forces; the role of policy transfer networks in mediating policy change; and, micro-level processes of policy oriented learning’ (Evans 2004, p. 22) (Table 2.2). Table 2.2 The multi-level policy transfer analysis 1 Global, International and Transnational Structures Economic, technological, ideological and institutional structures constrain but do not determine the behaviour of state actors at levels 2 and 3 2 The State Project (e.g. the UK Competition State) The state has some autonomy from structural forces (economic, technological, ideological and institutional) at the level of strategic selectivity 3 Meso-Level: the Policy Transfer Network A network of indigenous and exogenous agents in resources dependent relationships with some level of autonomy from structural forces at the level of options analysis and implementation in processes of policy transfer. Events at level 3 can often be explained by reference to the interaction of 1 & 2 Source Taken from Evans (2004, p. 23)
On Evans and Davies’ view, policy transfer is able to capture phenomena not otherwise explained by other approaches. In his later work, Evans notes that policy transfer: ‘is best concerned with discernible and remarkable features of contemporary policy change’ (2004, p. 26). Yet, the explanatory capacity of policy transfer is enhanced by delimiting its parameters: 1. Following Rose, Evans and Davies argue that: ‘Policy transfer is a theory of action oriented policy change’. It is thus characterised by intentional activity. 2. ‘policy transfer must seek to identify and classify remarkable phenomena not otherwise explained’ (2004, p. 26). 3. ‘when remarkable intraorganizational transfers occur it is likely to be extraorganizational factors which are remarkable, rather than the intraorganizational process of transfer’ (2004, pp. 26–27). 4. ‘investigating the dynamics of international policy transfer falls outside the frameworks of normal forms of policy-making’ (2004, p. 27) five different transfer pathways: international, transnational, national, regional, local. For Evans and Davies, policy transfer has emerged as a remarkable facet of policy-making as a consequence of three processes: (i) global or international processes; (ii) changes in statehood; and (iii) organisational activity. In terms of the first of these, the MLA is predicated upon a particular view of the international political-economic climate, specifically: ‘no serious scholar would deny that patterns of increased internationalization have occurred and that these have posed significant constraints on the ability of most nation states to forward independent national economic strategies’ (Evans 2004, p. 29). However, there are two sides to this coin. Increased internationalisation has imposed constraints on the nation state, yet also imbued policy-makers with increased technological capability to increase their knowledge of policy-making elsewhere. Moreover, the growth of international institutions—the IMF, World Bank, WTO and OECD amongst others—has increased not only ideational battles over the meaning and utility of globalisation, but also the ‘potential opportunity structures’ for transfer of policy (1999, p. 33). International institutions, through either ideational endorsement of certain policy approaches or ‘conditionality’, operate as agents of policy transfer, promoting neoliberal
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ideas and ethics. Against this background of globalisation and interdependency, the emergence of policy transfer is seen as entirely explicable. Policy transfer is the corollary of both economic interdependence and ideational competition amongst international institutions. If globalisation provides the exogenous stimulus for policy transfer, changes in state systems provide the endogenous stimulus. For Evans, policy transfers may result from fundamental alterations to state structures, specifically ‘systems change (electoral, institutional, and ideological), historical legacies and the sharing of similar problems’ (Evans 2004, p. 33). Changes in government bring opportunities for new ideas and the sharing of ideas with similarly-minded overseas governments. In Chapter 4, I expound this possibility through consideration of the practices and logics of New Public Management in the 1980s and 1990s, and then further in Chapter 6 by considering the ideological links between New Labour and the New Democrats under Clinton as a typical case. Other processes can also contribute to the introduction of opportunity structures. Evans argues that the ‘hollowing-out’ of the state seen in Europe can create gaps in the provision of services and government which policy transfers may fill (2004, pp. 34–45). The ‘new governance’ to emerge from the ‘hollowing-out’ (Rhodes 1994) of the state has contributed to the emergence of policy networks capable of generating solutions to governmental problems by coordinating and pooling resources in public policy-making. As such: ‘In times of uncertainty policy-makers at the heart of networks will look to the ‘quick fix’ solution to public policy problems that policy transfer can provide’ (Evans 2004, p. 35). Thirdly, at an organisational level, Evans claims that the emergence of policy transfer can be linked to frustration with the performance of existing policy systems. Where existing policy frameworks do not meet the needs or ambitions of policy-makers, opportunity structures for policy transfer emerge (2004, p. 35). Such opportunity structures may occur because additional expertise or better experience with a particular policy ‘problem’ is needed. Partly constituted by state and non-state actors, policy transfer networks are seen to be the fourth source of policy transfer. According to Evans, actors from a range of backgrounds come together with the specific intention of engineering policy change:
Policy network agents can act as agents of globalization or counteragents to globalization, for agents of policy transfer are often carriers of particular policy belief systems (e.g. new public management, privatization etc.) and use their membership of formal and informal international policy networks to disseminate international policy agendas. (2004, p. 36)
These networks may be hosted by international institutions or think tanks and use their reputation of policy expertise as a tool to disseminate their sets of ideas. Countries with little expertise in particular policy areas— a ‘knowledge gap’—may call upon these institutions and networks to address their policy ‘problem’, thus increasing the opportunity structure for policy transfer. In sum, the MLA is distinctive from other approaches insofar as it disaggregates, as shown above, the levels of transfer. The analysis is fixed at three levels: the macro, meso and micro. These levels are applicable to the three arenas of policy (global, state, local), and, putatively, events at one level can help to explain events at either of the others. Following Hall, Evans argues that policy is not a homogenous concept. Rather, there are first, second and third orders of policies. First-order policy refers to the settings and nuances of policy instruments used to realise policy goals. Second-order policy refers to the policy instruments themselves: ‘the development of new institutions and delivery systems’ (2004, p. 38). Third-order policy refers to the ideological ambitions that are embedded in policy and systems of policy. In layering the processes of transfer, Evans and Davies create a tiered model which attempts to accommodate multiple processes at simultaneously: ‘In this sense policy transfer networks provide a context for evaluating the complex interaction of domestic and international policy agendas forced through the interaction of state and non-state (transnational and/or international) actors’ (Evans 2004, p. 24).
Part III In this final section, we explore two ancillary approaches to understanding cooperative or collaborative endeavour in policy-making: policy assemblage and transgovernmental policy networks.
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Policy Assemblage: Problematising Policy Transfer Within an emerging geography literature (spanning political, social and economic geography), the concept of policy assemblage offers a sort of spatial analysis lacking in the mainstream policy transfer literature. It emerges from a body of work exploring policy ‘mobilities’ and ‘mutation’, which broadly seeks to understand ‘how policies move, mutate and manifest in particular spaces and times, in a context of intense transnational flows of policy ideas and practices’ (Savage 2019, p. 2). McCann and Ward suggest policies should be understood as ‘unbounded, dynamic, relational assemblages’ (2012, p. 327; see also Temenos and McCann 2013; Baker and McGuirk 2017). Importantly, the assemblage literature offers substantial analytical insights into policy transfer theorising by drawing attention to both the fact policies are created, assembled and evolve from multiple sources, and that the process in which policy assemblage occurs is simultaneously (but not equally) a social, political and spatial one (e.g. see Ward 2006). That is, the assemblage approach emphasises the subjective dimensions of policy-making: ‘actors, practices, and representations that affect the (re)production, adoption and travel of policies, and the best practice models across space and time’ (Temenos and McCann 2013, p. 345). The assemblage literature represents a challenge to the parameters and powers of the policy transfer approach, as demonstrated in an interchange between David Benson and Andrew Jordan (2011, 2012), Mauricio Dussauge-Laguna (2012), Eugene McCann and Kevin Ward (2012), and Dolowitz and Marsh (2012). Without rehearsing with the multiple strands of argument, I would draw attention to one of the McCann and Ward’s critiques of the mainstream political science conception of policy transfer: the traditional literature retains a problematic separation between the domestic and the international which does not acknowledge that urban policy actors can act globally in their own right, meaning that policy regimes of various sorts are relationally interconnected. (McCann and Ward 2012, p. 327)
Relatedly, Prince (2017, p. 335) draws attention to the ongoing challenge to policy mobility literature of the local-global dualism: ‘the difference between what occurs ‘in here’ and what comes from ‘out there’. According to Savage, there are three core theoretical precepts
of assemblage theory: (i) ‘relations of exteriority and emergence’; (ii) ‘heterogeneity, relationality and flux’; and (iii) ‘attention to power, politics and agency’ (2019, p. 3). The ontological underpinnings here, taken from the work of Manuel DeLanda, are of particular interest to the next chapter’s exposition of Roy Bhaskar’s critical realism. Savage’s precepts draw a close link between critical policy studies and policy transfer by situating the policy process explicitly within an institutional and political analysis. On the first precept, policy assemblage is framed as a process that is non-linear and complex. The outcomes of policy, it is argued, are an uncertain product of its context: The particular ways in which components are brought together will determine the properties and effects of any given policy or agenda; and if the very same components were to be arranged differently, or new components were introduced or excluded, then different properties and effects would be produced. (Savage 2019, p. 8)
As a corollary, the second precept rejects the notion of policy as a static or complete entity, rather ‘are always subject to multiple and evolving interpretations, enactments and (very often) reforms or discontinuation’ (Savage 2019, p. 8). Third, the assemblage approach is critical of the fundaments of orthodox policy studies: ‘the state is akin to one player in a dynamic game of power, with power flowing in and out of the state, and across political territories, in complex and non-linear ways’. Policy assemblage concepts offer a foundational theoretical challenge to policy transfer. By drawing directing on critical policy studies, assemblage invigorates the political and institutional dynamics of the policy process and elevates uncertainty over determinism in the analysis. These critical developments hint at the need for a wider contextual grasp of the processes by which policies move and mutate, in terms of time and space and power. Transgovernmental Policy Networks Whereas policy transfer addresses the process by which policies are transmitted between jurisdictions, transgovernmentalism is concerned with groups of government actors working collectively in non-state-based networks to develop collaborative responses to transnational issues. This
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is a model we explore in greater depth in Chapter 3 but, in brief, transgovernmentalism emerged amongst 1970s IR scholars seeking to turn away from the dominant ‘state as a unitary actor’ position and unpack the state into its constituent parts (Slaughter and Zaring 2006, p. 212). For the chief protagonists of this literature, Keohane and Nye, transgovernmental relations were ‘sets of direct interactions among sub-units of different governments that are not controlled or closely guided by the policies of the cabinets or chief executives of those governments’ (1974, p. 43). Subsequent scholars posited a surge in global government collaborations to manage the global trade challenges presented by increasingly unfettered international private enterprise: ‘These new relationships were principally horizontal, relatively informal, and driven by the basic need of government officials in one country to interact with their counterparts in another to regulate increasingly mobile and global private actors’ (Slaughter and Zaring 2006, p. 215). Anne-Marie Slaughter, writing in her formative work A New World Order, describes emergent transgovernmental policy networks that are closely associated with changes in the make-up of the state. Slaughter contends that ‘Government networks are a technology of governance that are probably both cause and effect of [the disaggregation of the state]’ (2004, p. 31). Against a backdrop of increased state interdependence, it is said that transgovernmental networks have emerged as ‘informal institutions linking actors across national boundaries and carrying on various aspects of global governance in new and informal ways’ (Slaughter and Zaring 2006, p. 215) and are concerned with the ‘governance problems that arise when national actors and issues spill beyond their borders’ (Slaughter 2004, p. 16). These are not ad hoc, transient linkages, but networks of functionally equivalent regulators that are purposively established ‘loosely-structured, peer-to-peer ties developed through frequent interaction’ (Raustiala 2002, p. 5). On this view, functional interdependence of domestic institutions promotes transgovernmental activity. This is an attractive option for domestic officials, who prefer the informal and reversible forms of cooperation available via TGNs compared to the stultifying constraints of formal international agreements and treaties. In an attempt to conceptualise the background conditions under which TGNs emerge as a ‘preferred instrument of governance’, EilstrupSangiovanni (2007) suggests TGNs are likely to emerge where: (i) there are small groups with harmonious preferences; (ii) time horizons are short; (iii) there is uncertainty surrounding the behaviour and preference
of other states and uncertainty around the nature of real-world problems; (iv) there are domestic political divisions; and (v) states seek to form ‘clubs’ to initiate agreements and forge dominance over policy areas at the exclusion of ‘spoiler’ states (2007, pp. 8–10). The outcomes of transgovernmental policy networks have potentially considerable significance for domestic institutions insofar as they permit common solutions to be agreed, bypassing the traditional bureaucratic processes of formal negotiations of inter-government agreements through the informal relationships formed in these policy settings (Slaughter 2004, p. 49). Presently both the policy transfer and transgovernmental literatures emphasise the importance and influence of IGOs in channelling and shaping transnational policy communication. Yet both literatures face a prevailing challenge of explaining how specific configurations of intergovernmental linkages emerge, independently of IGOs. This is not a new problem for policy transfer theorists, who acknowledge that policy transfer has failed to consider the questions of ‘to what extent and why policy transfer has become widespread throughout western democracies in the course of the past two decades’ with the result that the link between state structures and agency remains underdeveloped (Evans and Davies 1999, p. 365). Seeking to escape the intentionalist position evident in much of transfer scholarship, Evans and Davies argue that policy transfer occurs in a structured context which shapes the ‘context, strategies, intentions and actions of the agents’ (1999, p. 370). Despite this attempt to ‘structure’ policy transfer, progress towards understanding the patterns and channels of policy transfer remains in its infancy. Policy transfer networks, for these authors, are held only to be ‘ad hoc, action-oriented phenomenon set up with the specific intention of engineering policy change. They exist only for the time that a transfer is occurring’ (1999, p. 376). So, for this literature, the prospect of state-based actors coalescing in established and ongoing policy transfer networks remains unexplored. Likewise, recent transgovernmental scholars have drawn attention to the failure to articulate the differential constitution of TGNs. Bach and Newman, for example, posit that ‘no effort has been made to systematically explain network membership patterns’ (2014, p. 2). This literature maintains an uncertain position on how, beyond their immediate functional orientation, networks coalesce. Though disaggregation and the emergence of transnational policy issues feature as the central explanation of the rise of TGNs—i.e. the exogenous conditions under
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which TGNs arise—neither explains the subsequent form and patterns of TGN. Eilstrup-Sangiovanni (2007) claims that prevailing explanations of the transgovernmentalism phenomenon are ‘indiscriminate’ and though they offer a general explanation of why TGNs have proliferated, fail to adequately specify why we see such variation across policy domains and member states. She asks: ‘why do we see seemingly see a proliferation of TGNs? Why among some states and not others?’ (2007, p. 7). In this sense, these scholarly concerns about how transgovernmental networks are forged echo the concerns of assemblage scholars about the structural conditions in which policy transfer relationships emerge. Discussion If the foregoing tells us anything, it is that tracing the pathways of influence that shape the adoption, assemblage, transfer, evolution, diffusion or convergence of policy is a multidisciplinary endeavour. Diane Stone affirms policy transfer a useful non-discipline-specific concept which draws together contributions from different discipline under one banner: ‘The divide between IR and [Comparative Public Policy] can be bridged, to an extent, by frameworks such as policy transfer’ (Stone 1999, p. 53). Evans and Davies similarly view policy transfer as a concept which can be used across social science: ‘policy transfer analysis can provide a context for integrating common research concerns of scholars of domestic, comparative and international politics’ (Evans and Davies 1999, p. 362). Indeed, Stone notes that ‘(t)he policy transfer concept problematises the division between the domestic and the international’ (1999, p. 53), a distinction, she claims, that has become ‘increasingly meaningless’ (1999, p. 53). In his ‘Policy-makers Guide to Policy Transfer’, Dolowitz refers to a ‘changing world of governance’ in which policy-makers have realised that ‘policy transfer can be an important tool in the policy-making process’ (2003, p. 1). Similarly, Stone refers to ‘the emergence of qualitatively ‘new’ policy problems that cannot be dealt with effectively through established policy heuristic’ (Stone 1999, p. 53), whilst Dolowitz et al. refer to a world environment in which ‘the pace of change is greater than ever before’ (1999, p. 719). The clear implication of all these comments is that the contemporary environment is somehow qualitatively different from the past and that policy transfer has recently evidenced itself as the most utilitarian response to these changes. What is more, there is an implicit assumption that countries ‘in the past’ have never had to contend with
‘new’ policy problems and thus had little need to recourse to transfer. Clearly, this thesis is not easily sustained: as explained in the introduction to this book, Britain’s public administration model was founded on a radical policy transfer from China, whilst its rank-and-file of colonial administrators leaned heavily on learning from shared experiences. Nevertheless, the policy transfer framework is a novel and deployable concept for public policy analysis. It draws in a variety of disciplines from across the academic spectrum, unified only by a common interest in how policies are developed. In this sense, policy transfer is a catholic concept. It suffers, however, from the inherent difficulties of demonstrating what components of a particular policy originate from where. Linked to this is the difficulty of evaluating the extent to which a policy achieves its targets—a necessary signifier of the impact of policy transfer. Foreshadowing perhaps the work of policy assemblage theorists, Page argues that: ‘Knowledge of the objectives behind a programme or set of practices are especially hard to determine – as we know, goals are vague, contradictory and confused. Moreover, different people, even senior people in the same organisation, have different goals and they may change substantially over time’ (Page 2000, p. 10). Page argues that another difficulty with the policy transfer framework: ‘is in unravelling the precise contribution of one strand – that provided by the practices observed in another country or other countries – in the complex mixture of ideas, issues, compromises and practices that go to make up ‘policy’’ (Page 2000, p. 4). In addition, it is this question of separately describing factors that initiate policy transfer which has been inadequately addressed. Dolowitz and Marsh have shown that policy transfer can be voluntary, coercive or a mixture of the two. DiMaggio and Powell offer ‘mimetic’, ‘coercive’ and ‘normative’ as three potential stimuli for convergence amongst institutions which could well be applied to transfers of policy between and within countries. Similarly, Bennett offers emulation, elite networking, harmonisation and penetration as four types of convergence. Yet, despite these causal typologies of transfer and convergence, explanations of why transfer is triggered, and from where transfers are drawn, remain a weakness in the policy transfer framework. As a result, it struggles sufficiently to address the question of causality4 and fails to draw in the wider ideological structures that frame policy-makers’ understandings of the policy process (Hay and Rosamond 2002).
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Conclusion: Towards Transgovernmentalism Addressing the question of ‘why’ and ‘from whom’ is the focus of my next two chapters, but the work reviewed above underlines the widening interest and utility of this field of research. Evans and Davies (1999) argue that: ‘The multi-organisational setting in which policy transfer tends to take place, coupled with the multi-disciplinary nature of its study, has inevitably meant that we have to juggle with a range of concepts in order to deepen our understanding of the phenomenon and sharpen the research questions we need to pose’ (1999, p. 362). To achieve this, they propose an ‘ensemble’ of concepts can contribute to this deepening of knowledge: ‘international structure and agency and the epistemic community approach, domestic structure and agency, policy network analysis and formal policy transfer analysis’ (1999, p. 363), which is the approach adopted by the analysis that unfolds over the next few chapters. Specifically, it is proposed that our insight into policy transfer identities reveals much more than merely the provenance of policy ideas, but indeed reveals a broader structure of transnational power relations. The critical approach of policy assemblage theorising signals the need to better understand the broader situational context of policy transfer. Specifically, it suggests we can achieve a clearer understanding of the prevailing political and institutional imperatives that inform how policies are adopted, from where and with what consequences for the policy implementation. They have urged greater critical attention to the underpinning institutional contexts in which policy ideas are adopted and developed, and emphasise that such activities occur in a (often global) political context replete with pre-existing orthodoxies, ideas and political agenda. This widening of the policy transfer aegis is, I suggest, revelatory as it captures potentially important global political dynamics. That is to say, policy transfer can act as a barium meal, illuminating the pathways of global power relations in ways that are not otherwise readily apparent. To trace these pathways, and affirm the multidisciplinary approach adopted here, we can draw from the work of IR transgovernmental scholars. As we have touched on above, these scholars have taken strides towards revealing how governmental relations above the nation state coalesce and persist. If we are to trace the power relationships underpinning policy transfer, then theirs is a valuable framework to commence with since, as above I have argued, transgovernmentalism scholarship has already demonstrated the extraordinary collaboration occurring above and beyond the state in the global governance realm. Chapter 3 explicitly draws together the threads of this argument.
Notes 1. ‘Apparent’ insofar as they are tangible instances; this includes both successful and unsuccessful outcomes of transfer. 2. As a proviso, they add, ‘mechanisms interact. It is thus an important area of future research to develop hypotheses and to undertake empirical research on the interaction effects of all potential causal mechanisms’ (ibid., 794). 3. Following this vein of thought, agency is removed from agents insofar as policy-makers are imputed to always choose the most rational choice out of a range of possible outcomes. This point, of course, has been extensively debated elsewhere. For example, see Hay, C. (2004). Theory, Stylized Heuristic or Self-fulfilling Prophecy? The Status of Rational Choice Theory in Public Administration. Public Administration, 82(1). 4. In this sense, causality does not imply a positivist ‘If A, then B’ linearity, but merely a coherent approach to examining the factors that stimulate policy-makers into engaging in transfer.
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Dunlop, C. A., & Radaelli, C. M. (2013). Systematising policy learning: From monolith to dimensions. Political Studies, 61(3), 599–619. https://doi.org/ 10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.00982.x. Dussauge-Laguna, M. I. (2012). On the past and future of policy transfer research: Benson and Jordan revisited. Political Studies Review, 10(3), 313– 324. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1478-9302.2012.00275.x. Eilstrup-Sangiovanni, M. (2007). Varieties of cooperation: Government networks in international security (EUI Working Papers RSCAS 2007/24). Retrieved from: https://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/7503/RSCAS_2007? sequence=1. Evans, M. (2004). Policy transfer in global perspective. Aldershot, Hants, UK and Burlington, VT: Ashgate. Evans, M. (2006). At the interface between theory and practice–policy transfer and lesson-drawing. Public Administration, 84(2), 479–489. Evans, M., & Davies, J. (1999). Understanding policy transfer: A multilevel, multi-disciplinary perspective. Public Administration, 77 (2), 361–385. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9299.00158. Furlong, P. (2001). Constitutional change as policy transfer: Policy transfer as constitutional change. ESRC future governance programme. Haas, P. M. (1992). Introduction: Epistemic communities and international policy coordination. International Organization, 46(1), 1–35. Hall, P. A. (1993). Policy paradigms, social learning, and the state: The case of economic policymaking in Britain. Comparative Politics, 25(3), 275. https:// doi.org/10.2307/422246. Hay, C., & Marsh, D. (2000). Demystifying globalization. London, New York: Macmillan. Hay, C., & Rosamond, B. (2002). Globalization, European integration and the discursive construction of economic imperatives. Journal of European Public Policy, 9(2), 147–167. https://doi.org/10.1080/13501760110120192. Heichel, S., Pape, J., & Sommerer, T. (2005). Is there convergence in convergence research? An overview of empirical studies on policy convergence. Journal of European Public Policy, 12(5), 817–840. https://doi.org/10. 1080/13501760500161431. Held, D. (1999). The transformation of political community: Rethinking democracy in the context of globalization. Held, D., & McGrew, A. (2000). The global transformations reader (Vol. 13). Cambridge: Polity Press. Hirst, P., & Thompson, G. (1996). Globalisation in question. Cambridge: Polity. Holzinger, K., & Knill, C. (2005). Causes and conditions of cross-national policy convergence. Journal of European Public Policy, 12(5), 775–796. https://doi. org/10.1080/13501760500161357.
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Inkeles, A. (1980). Modernization and family patterns: A test of convergence theory. Conspectus of History, 1(6), 31–62. Inkeles, A. (1981). Convergence and divergence in industrial societies (pp. 3–38). Directions of change: Modernization theory, research, and realities. James, O., & Lodge, M. (2016). The limitations of ‘policy transfer’ and ‘lesson drawing’ for public policy research. Political Studies Review, 1(2), 179–193. https://doi.org/10.1111/1478-9299.t01-1-00003. Jones, T., & Newburn, T. (2002). Policy convergence and crime control in the USA and the UK Streams of influence and levels of impact. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 2(2), 173–203. Kerr, C. (1983). The future of industrial societies: Convergence or continuing. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Knill, C. (2005). Introduction: Cross-national policy convergence: Concepts, approaches and explanatory factors. Journal of European Public Policy, 12(5), 764–774. https://doi.org/10.1080/13501760500161332. Legrand, T. (2018). Structure, agency and policy learning: Australia’s Multinational Corporations Dilemma. Learning in Public Policy (pp. 215–241). Cham: Springer. Legrand, T., & Vas, C. (2014). Framing the policy analysis of OECD and Australian VET interaction: Two Heuristics of policy transfer. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 16(3), 230–248. https://doi.org/10.1080/138 76988.2014.910909. Lenschow, A., Liefferink, D., & Veenman, S. (2005). When the birds sing: A framework for analysing domestic factors behind policy convergence. Journal of European Public Policy, 12(5), 797–816. https://doi.org/10.1080/135 01760500161373. March, J. G., & Olsen, J. P. (1998). The institutional dynamics of international political orders. International Organization, 52(4), 943. https://doi.org/10. 1162/002081898550699. Marsh, D., & Rhodes, R. A. W. (1992). Policy networks in British government. Clarendon Press. McCann, E., & Ward, K. (2012). Policy assemblages, mobilities and mutations: Toward a multidisciplinary conversation. Political Studies Review, 10(3), 325– 332. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1478-9302.2012.00276.x. McCann, E., & Ward, K. (2013). A multi-disciplinary approach to policy transfer research: geographies, assemblages, mobilities and mutations. Policy Studies, 34(1), 2–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/01442872.2012.748563. Mossberger, K., & Wolman, H. (2003). Policy transfer as a form of prospective policy evaluation: Challenges and recommendations. Public Administration Review, 63(4), 428–440. https://doi.org/10.1111/1540-6210.00306.
O’Toole, L. J., Jr. (2000). Research on policy implementation: Assessment and prospects. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 10(2), 263– 288. Ohmae, K. (1990). The borderless world. McKinsey Quarterly, 3, 3–19. Ohmae, K. (1994). The borderless world: Power and strategy in the global marketplace . London: HarperCollins. Ohmae, K. (2000). The invisible continent: Four strategic imperatives of the new economy. Nicholas Brealey. Pagani, F. (2002). Peer review: A tool for global co-operation and change. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD Observer, (235), 55. Page, E. C. (2000, January 28). Future Governance and the literature on policy transfer and lesson drawing. Prepared for the ESRC Future Governance Programme Workshop on Policy Transfer. London: Britannia House. Prince, R. (2017). Local or global policy? Thinking about policy mobility with assemblage and topology. Area, 49(3), 335–341. Radaelli, C. M. (2000). Policy transfer in the European union: Institutional isomorphism as a source of legitimacy. Governance, 13(1), 25–43. https:// doi.org/10.1111/0952-1895.00122. Raustiala, K. (2002). The architecture of international cooperation: Transgovernmental networks and the future of international law. Va. J. Int’l L., 43, 1. Rhodes, R. A. W. (1994). The Hollowing out of the state—The changing nature of the public-service in Britain. Political Quarterly, 65(2), 138–151. https:// doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-923X.1994.tb00441.x. Rose, R. (1993). Lesson-drawing in public policy: A guide to learning across time and space (Vol. 91). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rose, R. (2002). When all other conditions are not equal: The context for drawing lessons. Glasgow: Centre for the Study of Public Policy, University of Strathclyde. Sabatier, P. A. (1986). Top-down and bottom-up approaches to implementation research: A critical analysis and suggested synthesis. Journal of Public Policy, 21–48. Savage, G. C. (2019). Policy assemblages and human devices: A reflection on “Assembling Policy’. Discourse-Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 39(2), 309–321. https://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2017.1389431. Schofield, J., & Sausman, C. (2004). Symposium on implementing public policy: Learning from theory and practice—Introduction. Public Administration, 82(2), 235–248. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0033-3298.2004.00392.x. Simmons, B. A. (2014). The globalization of liberalization: Policy diffusion in the international political economy.
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Theorising the Architecture of Transgovernmental Policy Networks
Introduction: Theorising Transnational Policy-Making The question of the influence of ‘above the state’ decision-making processes on the nation state is at the centre of contemporary public policy debates. In recent years, public policy theorising has undergone a ‘turn’ to the transnational sphere and, increasingly, borrows from the toolbox of constructivism to better account for values, ideas and norms. As noted in Chapter 2, the conceptual language of ‘global governance’ has gained currency with the growing recognition of the steady diffusion of decision-making processes that are directly or indirectly beholden to the determinations of a multitude of non-domestic interests, such as private enterprise, civil society groups, IGOs, neighbouring states and international standards committees. This is now described by Diane Stone as the global ‘agora’ (2015) in which the fates of publics around the world are increasingly determined not by locally-elected officials, but by ambiguous politicking and bargaining in international fora. Yet it remains poorly understood by those publics. In their volume, Global Governance and Democracy (2015), Wouters et al. argue that ‘we have yet to achieve a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of how governance as an empirical phenomenon actually varies across and between issue areas of world politics’ (2015, p. 2), and so they call for a multidisciplinary dialogue to adequately map the dynamics of © The Author(s) 2021 T. Legrand, The Architecture of Policy Transfer, Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55821-5_3
global governance. Likewise, recent work in policy studies has urged the discipline to develop a ‘forensic understanding of multilevel governance problem structures’ (Coen and Pegram 2015, p. 417). On this theme, Diane Stone and Stella Ladi have called on their fellow scholars to ‘recognize the interconnectedness of different hierarchical and network structures of both a public and private nature at the transnational, international and /or global levels’ (2015, p. 839). To do so, Finnemore advises us, requires a shift in focus ‘from discrete actors to relationships among actors’ in transnational spaces (2014, p. 223). Policy transfer theorists are well positioned to answer this call for two reasons. First, policy transfer scholars are drawn from a broad pool of disciplines. Contributions from law, geography and sociology are just as common as those of a political science and public administration. Second, policy transfer scholars have been at the forefront of the transnational turn, urging greater attention to be paid to the ideational transactions that occur across borders, between political institutions and between likeminded policy-makers. Third, because of its concern with detecting the patterns by which certain policy ideas become dominant, policy transfer analysis offers a useful staging post from which to approach questions of global governance and legitimacy. Though these are good reasons to be optimistic for the usefulness of the approach, policy transfer is far from a complete analysis. Minkman et al. (2018) have recently concluded that, of the reviews of policy transfer models in the recent few years, ‘none of them systematically documented the factors that influence the policy transfer process and thereby the outcomes of this process’ (2018, p. 223). They further claim there are methodological concerns that remain unanswered: ‘Existing research is limited to one or a few cases or uses deductive approaches to investigate limited elements of the transfer process’ (2018, p. 222). Here, I offer a remedial theoretical exploration of policy transfer, avoiding the deductive trap that Minkman et al. caution against, by inductively developing a theoretical framework from the case study set out in later chapters. The first part of the chapter sets out my theoretical ‘stall’ as it pertains from a philosophical approach to social sciences known as critical realism. It is (necessarily) dense with theoretical discussion and, whilst this is important, the impatient reader might wish to skip to the subsequent section of the chapter where I operationalise the theoretical perspectives built here within a substantive context. In Part II, I explore the emergence of policy networks on the global stage before, in Part
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III, turning to how theorising transgovernmental relationships provides a stable basis from which to make sense of this landscape.
Part I: Theoretical Underpinning in Critical Realism Critical realism has for some time performed an under-labouring role for the social scientist. By nature a philosophical approach, or ‘general platform, capable of underpinning various social theories’ (Archer 1995, p. 136), critical realism does not offer any sort of praxis or schema for the social scientist to blindly copy. Rather, it stipulates a philosophical alternative to the empiricist and heuristic traditions, postulating, on the one hand, the existence of immutable mechanisms that generate lived experiences and insisting, on the other hand, the irreducibility of events to discourse or ideas. Fundamentally, the critical realist position rests on an ontology of depth. There are three components or layers to this ‘depth’ ensemble that relates to the social world: (i) the empirical realm; (ii) the actual realm; and (iii) the real realm. Roy Bhaskar argues that social phenomena emerge from, and through, these layers whereby underlying (real) mechanisms and structures generate (actual) events and outcomes. Because these events are rendered visible only to the limits of our (empirical) ability to perceive them, he claims that we must be careful of committing what he calls the ‘epistemic fallacy’, where how we acquire knowledge (epistemology) is conflated with the belief of what knowledge there is to acquire (ontology). Thus, Bhaskar rejects the empiricist equation of cognition with reality. For the natural scientist, the structures or laws which govern the operation of physical events can be abstracted and understood independently of their effects. For social science, however, structures do not exist independently of the activities they govern. Whilst natural laws exist throughout time and space separate from our knowledge and, indeed, experience of them, the same is not true of social structures. These are intrinsically tied to the social sphere insofar as social structure and agents are mutually constitutive: one does not exist without the other. Importantly, the contingent nature of social structures also means that they do not operate as social laws (in the sense that their mechanisms and outcomes are, all other things being equal, always the same). This point is reinforced by noting that social actors can be aware of social structures and are able to mitigate or take advantage of their operation:
the social sciences deal with a pre-interpreted reality, a reality already brought under concepts by social actors, that is a reality already brought under the same kind of material in terms of which it is to be grasped. (Bhaskar 1979, p. 27. Emphasis in original)
So, critical realism offers these ontological insights into the task of social research: i. There are underlying structures and mechanisms that we cannot access directly. ii. However, the existence of these structures is imputed from their expression in certain events at an actual level. iii. These events are experienced and understood, empirically, via our cognitive frames. Yet, Bhaskar is also careful to situate the individual within his conception of social structures: For social life always occurs in a context which is pre-structured and differentiated, in which socially differentiated individuals act (that is articulate and apply) their various (and potentially or actually antagonistic) ‘forms of life’ in the processes of social interaction and material mutation that reproduce (and transform) the totalities of internally related fields of force that comprise societies. (Bhaskar 1979, p. 194. Emphasis in original)
There are significant theoretical implications for social science in employing critical realism. If it is accepted that there are ‘real’ underlying mechanisms which generate events, and, in turn, the lived experiences of the social, then, according to Bhaskar, we understand these through theoretical frameworks. But what are theoretical frameworks and how does the critical realist conception of these differ from others? To fully answer this question, we must return to the ontological basis of critical realism itself. As explained above, critical realism is predicated upon the understanding that the underlying mechanisms of the ‘real’ are not material objects; rather, they are the sets of principles which may, or may not, obtain at the level of events. In other words, that which actually occurs at a physical level does not reflect the entirety of what could occur since there may be mechanisms that, for example, obtain only within a certain configuration of events. As such, ideas about what the ‘real’ constitutes may only
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partially account for what has occurred at the level of the actual; alternative mechanisms might emerge within different configurations of the actual means that our understanding of the real is necessarily contingent: Scientific ‘laws’ are therefore not understood as well-corroborated, universal empirical regularities in patterns of events, but as statements about mechanisms. (Sayer 2013, p. 124. Emphasis in original)
In this nomenclature, then, tendencies replace laws. Establishing laws requires a complete, and ontologically impossible, understanding of every possible event or configuration of events. Tendencies, however, refer to an understanding of certain configurations of particular events at a contingent level: ‘The effects produced…at the empirical level depend upon contingently related conditions, including those produced by other mechanisms which are sometimes called ‘counteracting tendencies’’ (Sayer 2013, p. 125). It then follows that theory building becomes an inductive, contingent exercise whereby the theory is an approximation, not a direct representation, of the ‘real’. When we accept that our understanding of the ‘real’ is partial, theory becomes a tool to characterise rather than delineate. The implications of this should be clear: (i) critical realists privilege flexible theory (i.e. theory subject to revision and redundancy) over inflexible theory; (ii) theory is an interpreting device; and (iii) theory is time and space contingent. As we have seen in the previous chapter, the creation of policy transfer is partially the result of the abstraction of certain parts of the policy process. The critical realist understanding of theory that we have arrived at above emphasises the ontological problem that natural sciences encounter when isolating one material process from the ‘open system’ in a ‘closed system’ of laboratory conditions: in so doing, it denies itself a wider understanding of how such processes interact with ‘real-world’ processes. Policy transfer analysis has replicated this problematic by, firstly, defining precisely what does and what does not constitute policy transfer and, secondly, in so doing treating policy transfer in its abstracted form as if it were a discrete material process with discrete material outcomes. This is simultaneously an empirical and a theoretical puzzle.
Emergence The notion of emergent properties stems from the interactions of mechanisms and elements across each strata of reality. Specifically, it is a conceptualisation of how interactions and relationships generate ostensibly ‘new’ prima facie features of reality. Here, I draw from the theoretical exposition of emergence from the critical realist approach, but acknowledge the common interest expressed in the policy assemblages literature (see the previous chapter section on Policy Assemblage). The idea of emergence denotes that when particular elements combine (these can be social or physical), the combination can produce characteristics or properties that are distinguishable from the constituent elements themselves (McAnulla 2005, p. 34). This insight corresponds with the idea of stratification insofar as combinations of events or processes at one level may generate new objects, at another level, with distinctive, and qualitatively different, properties: ‘In emergence, generally, new beings (entities, structures, totalities, concepts) are generated out of pre-existing material from which they could have been neither induced or deduced’ (Bhaskar 1998, p. 599). Thus, the constituent elements (and their intrinsic properties) cannot necessarily be ‘read off’ from the properties of the constituted object. As indicated above, the concept of emergence is derived from critical realism’s view of the stratification of reality. It is a concept of complexity whereby observed outcomes and/or experiences are the manifestations of an indeterminate number of events at higher strata. Consider the example of the relationship between employer and employee. Both individuals have their own set of a priori properties. When constituted in the dynamic between an employee/employer, however, two modifications of properties occur: (i) the relationship itself displays properties in virtue of the constitution, and (ii) the properties of each individual may be modified as a result of the constitution.1 For example, the constitution of the employee/employer relationship gives rise to a power relation in which the employer has (partial) control over the actions of the employee. The result of this power relationship may be to modify (temporarily) the, say, capacity of the employee to do as she wishes on a day-to-day basis. The intrinsic properties of the employer might similarly be modified (perhaps enhanced) by virtue of the constituted relationship. These properties, however, make sense only in the context of higher-level strata: capitalism and employment law, for example. As a result, we may speak
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of such relationships not only in terms of their manifested activities and the attendant emergent properties, but, as importantly, in terms of the higher-level strata from which such relationships derive? Douglas Porpora puts this point succinctly: ‘In short, the power that explains whatever behavior patterns we observe is rooted in social relationships. It is for this reason that I say the relationships are analytically prior to the behavior’ (my emphasis. 1998, p. 349). That such emergent features are produced is not pre-determined. Indeed, ‘As reality comprises a set of related sub-systems or domains that are not combined mechanically, critical realists argue that the cause of events may only be revealed partially because of their complex codetermination’ (Downward et al. 2002, p. 483). In other words, the co-determination of events and outcomes is not a linear causal relationship in ‘if x then y’ schema. Rather, co-determination refers to the contingent formation of relationships (and the attendant manifestation of different sub-properties) in an indeterminate open system of structures and agents: In a multi-determined, multi-levelled, multi-linear, multi-relational, multiangular, multi-perspectival, multiply determined and open pluriverse, emergence situates the widespread phenomena of dual, multiple, complex and open control. (Bhaskar 1998, p. 602)
The concept of emergence introduces critical realists’ understanding of the relationships between structures and agents. Although based upon an immanent critique of ‘closed systems’ natural science methodology, critical realists argue that emergence in ‘open’ natural systems is homologous to ‘open’ social systems. Indeed, Archer notes that: ‘it is quintessential that society is an open system: and not in the milk and water terms of those methods’ textbooks warning about the difficulties of ‘controlling for extraneous variables” (1998, p. 190). Crucially, the interplay of structures and agents, qua emergence, cannot be explained merely by reducing one to the other. Whilst structures are identifiable through their effects, they are not merely the sum of their effects, or, as Collier explains: ‘the explicability of the mechanisms of the upper strata in terms of those of the lower, and the irreducibility of the upper to the lower strata, provides a coherent and well-exemplified general theory, of which base/superstructure stratification can be seen as an instance’
(Collier 1998, p. 271). Stratification, then, offers a means of organising the social realm into its constitutive structures, events and mechanisms. Agency and Contingency Critical realism recognises the centrality of contingency to political (social) outcomes. Now, contingency does not simply refer to ‘accidents’ and chance. It also refers to the reflexive understanding attached to agency. Individual behaviour is ‘conscious’, in that agents, according to Bhaskar, are sentient, aware, attentive, reflexively self-aware, attentive and articulate and occupied in planned (controlled deliberate, integrated), reasonable (intelligent, well-grounded, responsible) collective, coordinated or mutual activity (Bhaskar 1998, p. 411). As sentient and social beings, agents cannot be analytically understood as fixed, determinate components of the intransitive domain. Indeed, Bhaskar argues (1998, p. 411): ‘in our transformative causal agency, mobilising pre-existing structure, we endow the world with consequences, realizing (or not) our purposes in it, and conferring meaning upon it,… reproducing or transforming those structures in the course of our agency’.2 The human praxis denies the possibility of ‘law-like’ determinacy in an open system of structures and agents. This being the case, inductive and deductive methods, in looking to posit systemic regularities and connections, preclude explanation of irregularities and non-connections; both of which, in Bhaskar’s analysis, are possible (and, indeed, likely) corollaries of human praxis. Thus, where we look to unpack and identify the open-system context of the social, stratification (and its attendant realisation of the interplay of mechanisms and agency) illustrates the problem of empirical realism. For the contingency attached to agential interaction militates against the possibility of definitive identification of causal mechanisms. For Downward et al, interacting mechanisms do not play out as fixed constants: ‘These are not manifest as predictable or universal event regularities because of continual interplay between (intrinsic) reflexive human agency and structure’ (Downward et al. 2002p. 483). The critical realist framework performs an under-labouring role for the study of policy transfer by furnishing a set of concepts that have the advantage of analytical consistency: it renders explicit the background assumptions that we rely on to talk about the empirical world. Just as good practice in mathematics is to set out your working, so that errors in
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the calculation process can be easily pinpointed and remedied, it is good practice in social science to reveal the full theorising process so that any faulty assumptions may be remedied without discarding the entire process of reasoning and argument. Above I have set out four macro-theoretical dimensions that are important not only to the present study, but more broadly to the discipline of social science. Together, these four theoretical ‘legs’ undergird the substantive elements of the transgovernmental architecture model, which is outlined below.
Part II: Conceptualising Global Policy Networks: Towards Transgovernmentalism Below I set out this book’s analytical framework, which is the central theoretical contribution and the foundation of the empirical analysis. The later chapters underline the relevance of these dynamics for future policymaking as well as past, and draw on empirical work to show how and why. Gaining analytical purchase is therefore of value to a wider set of cases than those considered here. The analytical framework is assembled here ahead of Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7, in which each ‘leg’ is articulated. My overarching ambition is to draw out, and reconcile, the multiple structural and agential dynamics of transfer that have been posited and described in the previous chapter. On these questions, I develop three connected insights for my analytical framework. First, I advance the claim that the pre-existing alliances and relationships carved out by the felicities of history bear strong relevance to policy transfer. I draw out the claims of authors who suggest that prevailing propinquity or value-driven preference drive cross-border policy engagement. Here, it is claimed that prevailing institutional or national alikeness induces officials to gravitate towards or, at least, privilege lessons emanating from the familiarity of like-minded states. Second, I posit that this is a conditional propinquity; that is, officials seek to draw from elsewhere when contingent circumstances provoke the need and opportunity structures provoke the means to do so. The opportunity structures encompass a range of new and old technologies: from the Internet, and web reports to ‘contact’ networks, conferences and professional networks. In a globalising world, these conditions are becoming increasingly apparent, as outlined in Chapter 1. Third, and finally, such learning must necessarily occur through agents, who do so in a way that accords with prevailing professional activities
around cross-government engagement in networks. Such networks are a technology of governance conditioned by the practices of the NPM era (as I argue in the Chapter 4), facilitated by information technologies of the 1990s and prompted by the identified mutual benefits in the 2000s (as the case study on welfare policy-making in Chapter 6 shows). These insights, I argue, connect to provide a more complete analytical framework to account for not only how policies are transferred, but how and by whom. Being concerned with both structure and agency dynamics, this is partly a meta-theoretical argument, but it is a grounded one (as Chapter 4 continues to explain). This theoretical framework connects four socio-political concepts. It draws backwards from Chapter 2’s exploration of contemporaneous theorising and forwards from empirical work in later chapters. The framework is neither fixed nor predictive: the political realm is resistant to parsimonious explanation, and perhaps the best we can hope is to determine tendencies, trajectories or likelihoods. Its ambition is to identify the strands of cooperative imperatives that, in combination, produce or constitute the transfer outcomes that are apparent. Below I sketch out these elements by bringing together separate strands of research.
Transgovernmental Networks and Policy Transfer The analytical framework of this book proceeds in two stages. The first stage emphasises the structural dimensions that are integral to explaining policy transfer, yet all too often overlooked in analytical accounts. Here, the analysis relies on critical realist accounts of the structure-agency relationship to furnish a theoretically-informed account of the overarching phenomenon of knowledge (policy) transfer. The Structural Context of Politico-Cultural Propinquity The foundational conceptual level concerns the structural dimensions of preferential policy learning. Chapter 4 gives detailed articulation of this conceptual framing, but here we will summarise in brief its main contours for the purposes of the discussion on policy networks below. As scholarship on policy assemblage has found, the environment in which policies move is always political and subjective: there are background power dynamics that influence policy adoption/learning in non-obvious but powerful ways. One way in which this happens, on the view expressed
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in Chapter 4, is within a sphere of propinquity, which includes shared (national) identities, historical and cultural amity and institutional proximity. For some authors, cross-border learning is already apparent in ideological commitments to the economy: Simmons and Elkins refer to ‘distinctive clusters’ (2004, p. 171) of economic liberalisation amongst states and suggest that ‘Cultural propinquity is a nonobvious yet highly plausible explanation for policy emulation’ (2004, p. 175). Deepening this view, we might draw from Alexander Wendt’s constructivist critique of realism and rationalism. He proposes that sub-international systems (or clusters, to use Simmons and Elkins’ terminology) are instrumental in forging states’ collective identities, which produce ‘shared understandings, expectations, and social knowledge’. Wendt’s work demonstrates the role of collective identity formation in international politics, in which collective identities and national interests emerge from structural contexts, systemic processes and strategic practices. Further, Wendt suggests that states acting in concert to address transnational policy problems cement those relationships: ‘By teaching others and themselves to cooperate… actors are simultaneously learning to identify with each other- to see themselves as a “we” bound by certain norms’ (Wendt 1994, p. 390). Collective identity formation becomes central to understanding the structural context of policy transfer, since following Wendt, we might posit that policy officials’ learning is directed or shaped by these prevailing identities,—hinting at a hierarchy of whom they choose to learn from, in which a subset of countries are deemed more attractive as prospective partners in tackling common problems or as sources of policy lessons. Together, these form the structural conditions of policy-making and, in a global environment, collaboration. Already, the structural power of national spheres of identity has gained a toehold in research on global economics and trade. Spilker et al. (2016, for example, suggest that culturally similar countries are more likely to engage in trade relationship because of ‘psychological ingroup-outgroup feelings, national images, and economic considerations’. The literature on business studies has maintained a focus on ‘psychic distance’ as a variable to understanding how businesses make decisions on entry to foreign markets. Jody Evans et al. suggest psychic distance incorporates ‘language, business practices, political and legal systems, education, economic development, marketing infrastructure, and industry structure’ (2000; see also Ambos et al. 2019; Dow and Karunaratna 2006; Håkanson and Ambos 2010).
Such identities are not independent of a material context, which may reinforce or push against the gravitational tendencies of national identity. Russia’s overlapping history, culture and language with Ukraine, for example, is largely outweighed in the current conflict between the two countries by material factors of sovereignty, territory and energy security. In the case of the Anglosphere, however, a range of material factors promote the structural proximity of these states. As the next chapter details, this alliance of five countries—Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA—have forged a relationship in matters of foreign policy, intelligence and defence, and increasingly in matters of domestic public policy. The era of New Public Management dawned across the Anglosphere countries in the 1980s and 1990s and with it came new modes of governing. Amongst these, policy networks emerged as a tool of policy development, decision-making and implementation. Chapter 1 has outlined how this was also the start of the information technology revolution: it revolutionised communication and the capacity for information-sharing with a scope and scale not previously possible. Against the backdrop of pre-existing structural propinquity, described above, emerged the institutional network relationships described later in this book. Emergent Policy Transfer Networks What are the relationships in which policy-makers draw lessons? This question is at the heart of debates around lesson-drawing, policy learning and policy transfer, for the notion of relationship is central to the dynamics between exporting and importing states. What does this relationship look like? Is it merely incidental or functional, or is it pre-existing and enduring? For the first wave of scholars exploring how cross-border learning occurs, the tendency was to frame the learning relationship as a functional one. Richard Rose’s conception of lesson-drawing outlined the conditions under which policy-makers draw from the experience of other countries. Yet, Rose is careful to differentiate between the various forms of lesson-drawing that occur, arguing that policy-makers may directly copy a programme, emulate the approach of policy-makers, conjoin elements of two policies to create one or simply draw ‘inspiration’. However, Rose’s approach focuses on the intentionalist aspect of policy-making whereby policy-makers are tasked to seek out successful policies from elsewhere that may be incorporated into domestic institutions. Dolowitz
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and Marsh evidently draw heavily from Rose’s initial description of voluntaristic transfer, yet argue that policies are often not adopted voluntarily. International institutions, they note, often impose ‘conditionality’ on developing countries, forcing them to adopt certain policies as a condition of loan agreements. For Dolowitz and Marsh, however, transfer of policy is seldom entirely either voluntary or coercive: different gradations exist between the two poles on what they call a ‘Transfer Continuum’. Most policies, they claim, contain elements of both voluntary and coercive transfer. Similarly, they claim, policy-makers never have perfect knowledge of the circumstances of transfers. They argue that ‘bounded rationality’ plays a key role in determining how the transfer occurs, which components are transferred and how appropriate the transfer is. In addition, they describe a number of factors that contribute to policy failure: uninformed, incomplete and inappropriate transfer. These factors, jointly or separately, may precipitate policy failure after a transfer. Despite this later attempt to focus upon one aspect of policy outcomes, the Dolowitz and Marsh model still lacks a definitive explanation of how policy transfers impact upon the domestic policy environment. This is a deficiency shared by the literature as a whole and, perhaps, reflects the literature’s relatively short history. As such, longitudinal studies are needed to trace the effect over time that policy transfers have upon the institutional environment into which they are transplanted. In addition, research is needed to establish how policy-makers go about deconstructing prior policies in preparation for receiving the new transfer and whether this process itself has any impact upon policy success or policy failure. Yet, as the methodology discussion above notes, policy-makers themselves often struggle to establish criterion for assessing the success of their own policies. Professional Policy making for the Twenty First Century, for example, repeatedly observes how civil servants are keen to put in place measurements of evaluations yet sometimes struggle to assess a policy’s performance. Equally, however, policy transfer has inherent flaws that constrain the extent of its usefulness. James and Lodge highlight the insufficiently developed notion of rationality and bounded rationality that Dolowitz and Marsh assert as part of their transfer model. Moreover, they criticise the Dolowitz and Marsh model on the basis of its shallow conceptualisation and difficulty in explaining policy outcomes. These criticisms are echoed by Page (1999) and Evans and Davies (1999) who, however,
balance this criticism with the recognition that the policy transfer framework is clearly capable of developing a sophisticated conceptualisation of external and internal policy processes. Significantly, the notions of coercive and voluntary transfers signify a move towards understanding policy transfer as a tool of benign and belligerent modern governance. Additionally, it offers a means of cutting into globalisation debates from a policy analysis perspective, tracing policy from the local through the international sphere. Connecting Structure and Agency in Policy Transfer In a globalising world, understanding the relationship between those who learn (agents) and the environment in which they learn (structure) is imperative. Evans and Davies’ multi-level analysis focuses upon the contributions of agents and institutions at all stages of policy-making (public servants, bureaucrats, policy entrepreneurs, state and non-state institutions and so on) laterally and places their contributions in the context of ascending orders of policy-making (domestic, international, transnational) vertically. As a consequence, they claim that the MLA model allows analysts to account for both structural and agential influences on the policy transfer process. To characterise the relationship between structure and agency in theoretical terms, Evans and Davies rely on Alexander Wendt’s development of structuration theory. Giddens conceived structuration as a reconciliation of the dualism between structure and agency. In a practical sense, the ‘dualism’ meant that social theorists explained outcomes by reference to either structures or agents and, thus, either structuralism or intentionalism. Structuration theory focused on both structure and agency and on the interaction between them. There are two immediate concerns that must be addressed at this point: (i) Do the above criticisms of Wendt’s rendition of structuration theory invalidate Evans and Davies’ deployment of structuration? (ii) Although Wendt’s reading of structuration pulls away from Giddens’ conception, might it give us some insight into how a Bhaskarian (critical realist) theory of structure/agency in the international sphere might look? To address the first of these concerns, it is useful to examine how Evans and Davies envisage the use of structuration theory alongside a policy transfer framework. They suggest that structuration can be operationalised by linking the literatures they identify as integral to policy transfer processes, globalisation, internationalisation and transnationalisation, with policy transfer. They contend that these literatures are linked in three ways.
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Firstly, they claim, processes of globalisation, internationalisation and transnationalisation act as facilitators of policy transfer by increasing the opportunity structures for policy transfer. Secondly, policy transfer is regarded as a contributor to the conditions of globalisation (e.g. by aiding efforts towards integration within the EU project). Thirdly, they suggest, it is necessary to measure the impact of these processes upon the behaviour of the state. They argue that international regimes play a crucial role in ‘processing’ policy ideas through ‘epistemic communities’. In turn, these communities utilise their ‘knowledge resources’ to highlight global ‘policy problems and options’ (Evans and Davies 1999, p. 371). One outcome of this arrangement, they claim, is increased policy convergence. Evans and Davies take their understanding of ‘international regimes’ from Richard Higgott (1996): Regimes are the practical functional application of governance in international relations; for it is regimes that articulate the principled and shared understandings of desirable and acceptable forms of state behaviour. (cited in Evans and Davies 1999, p. 371)
In linking these concepts together, Evans and Davies generate what they see as a key research question: ‘in what sense do these external structures facilitate state behaviour with particular regard to processes of policy transfer and how?’ Their response to this question is predicated upon a particular conception of the state. For Evans and Davies, a crucial component of political globalisation concerns the evolution of the nation state into the competition state. According to Philip Cerny (1992), this evolution towards a competitive state is evidenced in the recalibration of domestic and foreign policies to meet the demands of global economic imperatives and, thus, remain competitive.3 A natural outcome of the competitive state has been increased marketisation manifested in economic neoliberalism: for example, the pursuit of deregulation, restrained taxation and deflationary measures (see Campbell and Pedersen 2001). Evans and Davies argue that this manifestation of the competition state has, in turn, precipitated a change in state administration: In order to complete such an ambitious project, new forms of statecraft have emerged and institutional structures and political practices reshaped with the aim of enhancing the steering capacity of the state’. (Evans and Davies 1999, p. 373)
According to Evans and Davies, this reorientation of statecraft is displayed in the shifting priorities of the state, particularly in the movement away from notions of full welfare provision and employment, towards the promotion of: ‘enterprise, innovation and profitability in both the private and public sectors’ (1999, p. 373). Importantly, they argue: ‘the policy agenda of the competition state is where we are most likely to locate examples of policy transfer’ (1999, p. 373). The evolution of the competition state is linked to the erosion of state structures through the process of ‘hollowing-out’. First referred to by Jessop (1993; and see also Rhodes 1994, 1996), the process of hollowingout refers to the (external) process by which global economic, political and social forces have eroded the autonomy, and institutional structures, of the state. Evans and Davies argue that it is within this macro-level context that policy transfer becomes more likely as a result of changing ‘opportunity structures’: At this level, therefore, it is further proposed that in a period of major institutional change and under conditions of uncertainty, new opportunity structures for policy transfer are likely to emerge. These opportunity structures may either be external to the government system or internal to it. (Evans and Davies 1999, p. 374)
So, for Evans and Davies, the competition state has given rise to new forms of governance under the constraints of external global forces. Consequently, the uncertainty created by the transition towards alternative governing techniques has created the space for policy transfer to flourish. Yet, as outlined earlier, this is only half of the structure/agency equation. Whereas the rise of the competition state within the context of global economic and political forces provides the structural context, policy transfer provides the agency role. Since policy transfer is, for Evans and Davies, a primarily agential (i.e. intentionalist) activity, the structural context examined above provides the strategic terrain in which agents operate. It is within this circumscribed terrain that Evans and Davies locate their policy transfer network approach. A short reiteration of the background to Evans and Davies’ multi-level approach might prove useful here. Principally, they developed the MLA in response to the theoretical shortcomings of initial work on policy transfer of Dolowitz and Marsh (1996, 1998, 2000) and Common (2001). For example, focusing on the
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conceptual model developed by Dolowitz and Marsh to illustrate the span between intentional and coercive transfer, Evans notes: The weakest aspect of the approach lies in the presentation of a continuum of policy transfer development in which rational/voluntary and nonrational/coercive policy transfer activity may be found at each end of a spectrum, with negotiated or obligated forms of policy transfer lying in the middle of the axis… [C]oercive forms of policy transfer do not always have to be non-rational. (Evans 2004, p. 21)
In addition, Evans and Davies claim that, whilst the initial model of policy transfer offered definitional criteria sufficient to outline some of the parameters of policy transfer, the overall operational framework embraced too many facets of policy-making. Consequently, they argue, Dolowitz and Marsh’s definition, ‘is far too broad to give the concept distinctive analytical validity. It is extremely difficult to distinguish between their theory of policy transfer and normal forms of policy development’ (Evans 2004, p. 21). The corrective prescribed by Evans and Davies required policy transfer ‘to be adapted into a multi-level, interdisciplinary perspective on policy change’ (1999, p. 374). Given their critique of Dolowitz and Marsh’s overly broad policy transfer model, it is surprising that they contend that the applicability of a distinctive policy transfer analysis should be broadened in order to: develop a conception of policy transfer analysis that allowed for the investigation of the role of global, international and/or transnational forces; state-centred forces; the role of policy transfer networks in mediating policy change; and, micro-level processes of policy oriented learning. (Evans 2004, p. 22)
Conceptually, this idea goes on to embrace an assortment of tools, including: ‘international structure and agency and the epistemic communities approach, domestic structure and agency, policy network analysis and process-centred policy transfer’ (Evans 2004, p. 22). Note that this ensemble of conceptual tools represents an analytical funnel, tying the macro-level to the micro-level and thus equipping the researcher with a ‘multi-level approach’. We have seen above how the international structural context features in the MLA; the concern here is to examine the function of the materially ‘knowable’ level of their approach.
Agency in Policy-Making Networks The empirically accessible level available to researchers, and therefore the focus of Evans and Davies’ research, is located at the network level where decision-making occurs. Accordingly, their approach looks to equip the research field with a specific means of cutting (conceptually) into the wide variety of transfer mechanisms that range, inter alia, from government and international organisations to think tanks (see Evans and McComb 2004; Ladi 2004; Flores-Crespo 2004; Lana and Evans 2004). In particular, the principal concern of the MLA is to develop a policy transfer network approach, since: policy transfer networks provide a context for evaluating the complex interaction of state and international policy agendas forged through the interaction of state, non-state, transnational and international actors. (Evans and Davies 1999, p. 376)
Coupled with the policy network and epistemic communities approaches, the policy transfer network is a conceptual assembly that, Evans and Davies claim, promotes an appreciation of the cognitive and intentional elements of policy-making: [Evans and Davies] developed the concept of a policy transfer network to depict an ad hoc, action oriented policy-making structure set up with the specific intention of engineering rapid policy-change. They exist only for the time that a transfer is occurring.4 (emphasis added, Evans 2004, p. 22; Evans and Davies 1999, p. 376)
On their view, governments (from local, regional, national or supranational levels) choose to engage with these networks for a variety of reasons. In so doing, Evans and Davies argue, such engagement reflects an interaction between the following: (i) ‘The need to satisfy objective policy problems; (ii) gaining access to other organisational networks; (iii) further relevant motivating values (regime-pull, discourse pull, ideological factors); and (iv) providing certain essential skills and knowledge resources’ (1999, p. 376).
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Next, I wish to unpack the two separate concepts that lie at the heart of the policy transfer network approach (hereafter PTNA): epistemic communities and policy networks. PTNA delivers both a heuristic framework and a research methodology. Theoretically, its tenets closely adhere to the MLA’s structurational roots: Thus through its emphasis on structural (organisational rules (cf. Callinicos) and imperatives) and interpersonal relationships (information and communication exchange) within networks, together with an acceptance of accounting for the structural factors exogenous to the network (e.g. ideology, economy, technology and resource exchange) a method is provided for understanding forms of policy development within a multiorganisational setting. (Evans 2004, p. 24; Evans and Davies 1999, p. 376)
If these are the ambitions for the PTNA, it is worthwhile to investigate how far its constituent concepts are actually capable of meeting the demands that Evans and Davies place upon them. A comparison between the characteristics of policy communities, epistemic communities and policy transfer networks. In the first chapter, the concept of epistemic communities was examined only briefly. Yet, because of the centrality of this concept, and of the policy networks approach, to Evans and Davies’ work, both need further consideration here. Epistemic Communities as Global Policy Networks The epistemic communities approach represents a crucial plank in Evans and Davies’ multi-level approach. Conceptually, alongside policy network analysis, it provides the pivotal explanation for the movement of ideas in interorganisational settings. On their view: the epistemic community approach provides us with a rich source for evaluating the role of knowledge elites as agents of policy transfer pushing for new or changed international practices and institutions nationally, transnationally and internationally. (1999, p. 365)
For Haas, an epistemic community is a: ‘network of professionals with recognized expertise and competence in a particular domain and an authoritative claim to policy-relevant knowledge within that domain or
issue area’ (1992, p. 3). The professionals who constitute the epistemic community share a number of characteristics: (i) They have shared norms and principles which give them a common cause for ‘social action of community members’. (ii) They have a shared understanding of the cause and effects of common problems in their field of expertise and are able to jointly articulate possible (policy) correctives to these problems. (iii) They share the same benchmarks of evidence-based practice: ‘shared notions of validity’. (iv) They have ‘a common policy enterprise’; within their area of expertise, they have a common understanding of the problems they face and a shared conviction towards resolving those problems for the enhancement of ‘human welfare’ (Haas 1992, p. 3). Prima facie, the notion of epistemic communities dovetails neatly with Evans and Davies’ conception of the competition state and institutional change. Haas argues that epistemic policy coordination prevails particularly in circumstances of uncertainty and change. Furthermore, epistemic policy coordination is seen as the outcome of a ‘causal logic’ (Haas 1992, p. 4): The major dynamics are uncertainty, interpretation, and institutionalization, In international policy coordination, the forms of uncertainty that tend to stimulate demands for information are those which arise from the strong dependence of states on each other’s policy choices for success in obtaining goals and those which involve multiple and only partly estimable consequences of action. (Haas 1992, p. 4)
The dynamics under which epistemic policy coordination occur are ‘uncertain’ because of the advent of ‘qualitatively new policy problems’ which transcend national boundaries. Haas gives the examples of nuclear proliferation and damage to the ozone layer, but might equally point to increasing carbon emissions and international terrorism. The dynamics of ‘interpretation’ refer to the means by which experts process the information available to them, which is: ‘thus neither guesses nor “raw” data; it is the product of human interpretations of social and physical phenomena’ (1992, p. 4). The dynamics are ‘institutional’ because the
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major discourses and idea-exchanges occur between recognised experts and policy-makers within established state and non-state institutions: To the extent to which an epistemic community consolidates bureaucratic power within national administrations and international secretariats, it stands to institutionalize its influence and insinuate its views into broader international politics. (1992, p. 4)
The space occupied by such networks is varied and usually transcends national boundaries. As such, epistemic community members are not bound by national interests, but adhere to the normative and professional precepts of their community. Because these communities operate beyond national interests, they can act as conduits for policy coordination between states through influencing how national interests are conceived: Members of transnational epistemic communities can influence state interests either by directly identifying them for decision makers or by illuminating the salient dimensions of an issue from which the decision makers may deduce their interests. (1992, p. 4)
The epistemic communities approach represents a shift away from conventional ways of defining state interests, whereby domestic or global variables provided explanations of state interests. Conversely, as Haas argues: ‘the epistemic communities approach suggest a nonsystemic origin for state interests and identifies a dynamic for persistent cooperation independent of the distribution of international power’ (1992, p. 4). Whilst Haas’ conception of epistemic communities provides a robust alternative to state-centric explanations of policy formation, the use of epistemic communities by state actors is limited and, as such, their engagement in the policy process is both contingent and arbitrary. The first of these is the most important and the use of epistemic communities by decision-makers is contingent in three ways: temporally; spatially; and politically. The operation of epistemic communities relies on access to, and deployment of, specific forms of information. In addition, the influence of epistemic communities qua epistemic communities is tied inextricably to situations in which state actors perceive their interests to be: (i) compromised; (ii) irremediable through the information, skills and resources available to him/her/them; and (iii) potentially remediable by the identified epistemic community. Temporally, the ability of epistemic
communities to influence state interests and decision-makers is structurally limited by events that are not within their control; they are only called on at times when their resources are in demand. Spatially, epistemic communities are tied in to the geographical, cultural, linguistic and/or political environments in which their members operate. The parameters of their influence are spatially delimited by the ‘demand’ of state actors and the practical barriers to providing effective, and timely, advice. The political contingency of epistemic communities is noted by Haas and affects the activities of the communities on two levels. Firstly, Ikenberry’s study of epistemic communities (1992) indicated that: while the form of specific policy choices is influenced by transnational knowledge-based networks, the extent to which state behavior reflects the preferences of these networks remains strongly conditioned by the distribution of power internationally’. (Haas 1992, p. 7)
In macro-political terms, the influence of epistemic communities is considerably less than entrenched power relations. Yet, even at the microlevel of policy-makers, the credence given to epistemic communities remains secondary to political concerns. In the context of natural scientific epistemy, Haas notes: Despite the veneer of objectivity and value neutrality achieved by pointing to the input of scientists, policy choices remain highly political in their allocative consequences. (1992, p. 11)
Thus, there is a dependency on contingency at the very heart of the epistemic community approach. The influence of epistemic communities is non-systemic; the format and extent of epistemic communities’ advice are overwhelmingly based upon contextual changes which are almost impossible to predict. Yet, for Haas, overriding power structures are absent in specific circumstances and it is in these circumstances that the influence of epistemic communities is at its most resonant, specifically: ‘in the face of uncertainty, and more so in the wake of a shock or a crisis, many of the conditions facilitating a focus on power are absent’. Moreover, Haas argues: ‘poorly understood conditions may create enough turbulence that established operating procedures may break down, making institutions unworkable’ (Haas 1992, p. 14). To elaborate on the type of events that might bring about such turbulence, Haas explains:
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Failed policies, crises, and unanticipated events that call into question [decision makers’] understanding of an issue-area are likely to precipitate searches for new information, as are the increasing complexity and technical nature of the problem. (1992, p. 29)
Such circumstances create the space in which epistemic communities are most influential. It must be emphasised, therefore, that the epistemic communities approach has been predominantly rooted in ideas of contingency and instability. It offers a potential explanation of policy choices in times of crisis and uncertainty, but is not—on Haas’ view—explanatory of policy choices made in circumstances of stability. Whilst the emergence of epistemic communities might be characterised as contingent, its adoption by policy-makers occurs arbitrarily. State actors have preconceived ideas about what constitutes valid policy advice, knowledge and evidence. Historical institutionalism (cf. Pierson and Skocpol 2002) provides insights into the role that prior ideas and prior decisions play in the decision-making processes associated with policy-makers. Moreover, state actors may select epistemic communities for reasons of political expediency, rather than in objective search for ‘knowledge’. Indeed, Haas acknowledges this: [E]pistemic communities can help formulate policies. Their role in this regard will depend on the reasons for which their advice is sought. In some cases, decision makers will seek advice to gain information which will justify or legitimate a policy that they wish to pursue for political ends. (Haas 1992, p. 15)
Because Haas’ analysis focuses on the conduct of epistemic communities, his approach sheds little conceptual light on the actions of policy-makers per se. Instead, policy-makers become an independent variable within his approach which is held constant; however, epistemic communities are held to be the dependent variable within his analysis and gain resonance and significance through crises and uncertainty. Indeed, they are held to affect the state (and, therefore, state policy-makers) only through ‘defining state interests’ and this tells us little about how interest is formed prior to the communities themselves. The foregoing criticisms of Haas’ epistemic communities approach might perhaps imply that these issues are unconsidered by Haas. Far from it; in fact, these criticisms are implicit at least in Haas’ position. The
aim here is merely to emphasise the contingent and arbitrary influence of the communities. This is an important point in the context of the wider critique of Evans and Davies since the epistemic communities approach is crucial in the MLA in linking organisations to the policy transfer network approach. The identification of the epistemic communities approach as a non-systemic, contingent and arbitrary component of the policy-making process undermines MLA on a conceptual level. So, Evans and Davies claim that the epistemic communities approach can supplement policy transfer analysis by augmenting our understanding of transfer processes at the interorganisational level (1999, p. 365) via international regimes. Specifically, they contend: It is therefore further suggested that international regimes play a key role in processing policy ideas through epistemic communities which attempt to use their knowledge resources to promote global awareness of certain policy problems and policy options. (1999, p. 371)
Here, we find an implicit tension between two integral concepts. Epistemic communities are held to operate in conditions of uncertainty and crisis (Haas 1992) as well as acting as conduits that promote the policy agendas of international regimes. Recall that the advice proffered by epistemic communities gains resonance as a result of crisis. Here, however, Evans and Davies employ the concept in a markedly different manner; the communities and their ‘knowledge resources’ are seen as serving another agenda which, crucially, is rooted ideationally in the interests of the so-called international regime. Clearly, the two identities of epistemic communities cannot coexist conceptually: their role is either independent of power structures, and thus responsive to changing conditions, or it is part of the very conditions of change through the ideational construction of interests or crisis. So, having examined the conceptual elements of the MLA, we now turn back to the theoretical structuration ‘scaffold’ upon which the MLA is hung. Some of the most incisive critiques of structuration focus upon the analytical dualism that Giddens (and associated authors) delivers through ‘methodological bracketing’ and the specification of structures. The essential interaction, as Evans and Davies see it, between structure and agency occurs because globalisation can:
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increase the opportunity structures for policy transfer (for example, global communications) and secondly, at the same time, policy transfer facilitates processes of globalization (for example, political integration and convergence in formations of governance through the creation of further opportunity structures, such as European Union (EU) economic development programmes. (1999, p. 371)
Importantly, the interaction described by Evans and Davies refers to two different types of structure. The activity they describe can be better characterised by (the structural resource provided by) global telecommunications à creates better conditions for à policy transfer à which facilitates à political integration.
From Epistemic Transfer to Transgovernmentalism So, for our purposes here, the key focal point is that Evans and Davies’ work builds a useful scaffold to understand the intersection of structures and agents, but is yet to tell us much about the background conditions which influence the cohering of policy networks. In their own words: The application of a version of policy network analysis which incorporates the strengths of the epistemic community approach is important because it allows us to focus on the nature of intentional explanation with particular reference to the role of agents in the process of policy transfer. (1999, p. 376)
However, they limit their conceptual discussion of policy network analysis to an assertion that they: ‘hold onto the importance of policy networks as providing a crucial insight into the external a well as the internal processes of “hollowing-out”’ (1999, p. 374). Conceptually, they claim that, together, the epistemic communities approach and policy network analysis may ‘provide us with the tools for understanding the nature of interorganizational politics’ (1999, p. 374). In Evans’ later work, he argues: Meso-level concepts such as policy networks help us to map out the paths through which political subsystems develop, they enable us to identify junctions at which we can focus analytically while preserving the maximum range of choices as to where to move next. (Evans 2001, p. 542)
Insofar as Evans and Davies are looking to develop a meso-level concept to address interorganisation relationships, this fits their framework. Yet in spite of this attempt to ‘structure’ policy transfer, progress towards understanding the patterns and channels of policy transfer remains in its infancy. Policy transfer networks, for these authors, is held only to be ‘ad hoc, action-oriented phenomenon set up with the specific intention of engineering policy change. They exist only for the time that a transfer is occurring’ (1999, p. 376). So, for this literature, the prospect of state-based actors coalescing in established and ongoing policy transfer networks remains unexplored. Transgovernmentalism and Policy Networks The literature on transgovernmentalism offers a powerful remediation for the problem of explaining how policy transfer networks persist. Above I have argued that the networked dimension of policy transfer has yet to be fully explored and articulated, especially with respect to the relationships that are emergent between policy regimes. So far, there has been a wide range of approaches to discerning transnational policy communities, including Haas’ epistemic communities framework, transnational policy groups (Carroll and Carson 2003), transnational policy networks (Norman 2001), advocacy coalitions and knowledge networks (Stone 2004, 2008, 2010). These approaches share a common feature in that they absent a sovereign state; rather, they refer to a global web of relationships across a cast of actors that includes governments, non-government organisations, private enterprise, civil society groups, scientists, policy experts and policy entrepreneurs, and more. In this context, above-thestate policy-making is carefully negotiated and bargained by disparate interests in an uncertain process. Transgovernmentalism stands as a testament, however, to the enduring power of sovereign states in addressing collective action or global policy problems. Transgovernmentalism refers to a body of work situated within the landscape of transnational policy politics described above, which focuses on groups of government actors working collectively in non-statebased networks to develop collaborative responses to transnational issues. Transgovernmentalism emerged amongst 1970s IR scholars seeking to turn away from the dominant ‘state as a unitary actor’ position and unpack the state into its constituent parts (Slaughter and Zaring 2006, p. 212).
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This group of scholars, led by Joseph Nye and Robert Keohane, developed the conceptual basis of transgovernmentalism, which was prompted by their observation of collaborative endeavours agreed in networks of policy officials of neighbouring or proximal countries and without the coordination of foreign or state departments (1971, pp. 330– 331). Keohane and Nye define transgovernmental relations as ‘sets of direct interactions among sub-units of different governments that are not controlled or closely guided by the policies of the cabinets or chief executives of those governments’ (1974, p. 43). Yet others have observed how such efforts at inter-governmental coordination have also manifested in global regulatory endeavours: Anne-Marie Slaughter and David Zaring, for example, argue that ‘Regulatory networks parallel and comport with the disaggregated but powerful way that globalization has actually happened’ (Slaughter and Zaring 2006, p. 218). Continuing, Slaughter and Zaring found that: These new relationships were principally horizontal, relatively informal, and driven by the basic need of government officials in one country to interact with their counterparts in another to regulate increasingly mobile and global private actors. (Slaughter and Zaring 2006, p. 215)
In A New World Order, Anne-Marie Slaughter (2009) traces the emergent transgovernmental policy networks and suggests that these represent a recent ‘technology of governance’ arising from the disaggregation of the state (2004, p. 31). As a consequence of disaggregation, the transgovernmentalism literature identifies the emerging tendency of government institutions to reach beyond their shores, acting without central coordination (via foreign or state departments), to network with their peers in parallel institutions overseas (Raustiala 2002, p. 3) with the result that domestic policy-makers are increasingly becoming operators in global governance. A paradigm case, explored by Slaughter, is the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision, which since 1974 has been populated by state central bank officials and operates as the coordinating mechanism for global banking supervision between 28 jurisdictions (as of 2020). The BCBS describes itself as ‘primary global standard setter for the prudential regulation of banks and provides a forum for regular cooperation on banking supervisory matters’. Beyond formal transgovernmental networks, Slaughter also traces the emergence of ‘spontaneous government networks’, which are transnational networks that arise informally
and independent of formal or legal inter-governmental agreements (2001, p. 355; see also Slaughter and Zaring 2006). These are understood to be self-organising networks which ‘comprise agreements between domestic regulatory agencies of two or more nations’ (Slaughter 2001, p. 359). Importantly, as they use voluntary agreements coordinated by national regulators themselves, there is no requirement to seek legislative approval from lawmakers. Rather, these networks rely on Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), which coordinate their network activities without coercion or cooption. Doing so is not only a means to avoid engaging in detailed legislative bargaining, but is a means to speed up cooperation between jurisdictions. In doing so, they represent a low-cost, high-benefit means of collaboration between national officials, but in avoiding the need to seek political input, there is a risk of democratic ambiguity, or as Slaughter puts it, it possibly represents ‘the removal of issues from the domestic political sphere through deliberate technocratic de-politicization’ (2001, p. 363). The Qualities of Transgovernmental Policy Networking Transgovernmental policy networks display a series of key qualities. First, transgovernmental networks can be understood as ‘informal institutions linking actors across national boundaries and carrying on various aspects of global governance in new and informal ways’ (Slaughter and Zaring 2006, p. 215). Second, the objective of their work is to engage with the ‘governance problems that arise when national actors and issues spill beyond their borders’ (Slaughter 2004, p. 16). Crucially, these are not ad hoc linkages, but instead form networks that are purposively established as ‘loosely-structured, peer-to-peer ties developed through frequent interaction’ (Raustiala 2002, p. 5). It follows, therefore, that a prerequisite of such interaction is parity between the policy portfolio and remit of the participating domestic institutions. Fourth, the informal and reversible forms of cooperation available via TGNs compared to the stultifying constraints of formal international agreements and treaties. Deepening these insights, we may draw from Eilstrup-Sangiovanni (2007) who contends that TGNs are likely to emerge where: (i) there are small groups with harmonious preferences; (ii) time horizons are short; (iii) there is uncertainty surrounding the behaviour and preference of other states and uncertainty around the nature of real-world problems; (iv) there are domestic political divisions; (v) states seek to form
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Table 3.1 Transgovernmental model of policy transfer networks Level 1. Structural: Politico-cultural propinquity (Chapter 4) In Chapter 4 I outline how the group of states known as the Anglosphere have coalesced as not only a military alliance, but as a partnership of ‘like-minded’ entities with commensurate values, beliefs and political aims. The strength of this affinity articulates as a politico-cultural propinquity, in which policy officials (and the publics) of those states identity and assign a priori legitimacy to one another, which manifests in (in this case) preferred transnational collaboration relationships Level 2. Emergent: Institutional-ideological networks (this Chapter) Policy networks emerge in an environment structured by pre-existing preferences and institutional relationships that make some policy ideas more palatable (ideologically), and compatible (institutionally and politically) than others. These are the channels of cross-border institutional learning and collaboration that are carved out by the powerful forces of identity, culture, and history. That is, these exert a structural influence on the preferences of agents and opportunities for policy transfer, through which networks of cross-border collaboration emerge Level 3. Agential articulation Agents working within institutions that have established channels of preferential learning and collaboration, as per epistemic communities fall into similar ‘geographical, cultural, linguistic and/or political environments’, whether as network relationships or bilateral, reinforce those channels
‘clubs’ to initiate agreements and forge dominance over policy areas at the exclusion of ‘spoiler’ states (2007, pp. 8–10). The outcomes of transgovernmental policy networks have potentially considerable significance for domestic institutions insofar as they permit common solutions to be agreed, bypassing the traditional bureaucratic processes of formal negotiations of inter-government agreements through the informal relationships formed in these policy settings (Slaughter 2004, p. 49) (Table 3.1). The Latent Problem of Transgovernmental Network Formation Presently both the policy transfer and transgovernmental literatures emphasise the importance and influence of IGOs in channelling and shaping transnational policy communication. Yet both literatures face a prevailing challenge of explaining how specific configurations of intergovernmental linkages emerge, independently of IGOs. This is not a new problem for policy transfer theorists, who acknowledge that policy transfer has failed to consider the questions of ‘to what extent and why policy transfer has become widespread throughout western democracies in the course of the past two decades’ with the result that the link between state
structures and agency remains underdeveloped (Evans and Davies, 1999, p. 365). Seeking to escape the intentionalist position evident in much of transfer scholarship, Evans and Davies argue that policy transfer occurs in a structured context which shapes the ‘context, strategies, intentions and actions of the agents’ (1999, p. 370). Likewise, recent transgovernmental scholars have drawn attention to the failure to articulate the differential constitution of TGNs. Bach and Newman, for example, posit that ‘no effort has been made to systematically explain network membership patterns’ (2014, p. 2). This literature maintains an uncertain position on how, beyond their immediate functional orientation, networks coalesce. Though disaggregation and the emergence of transnational policy issues feature as the central explanation of the rise of TGNs—i.e. the exogenous conditions under which TGNs arise—neither explains the subsequent form and patterns of TGN. Eilstrup-Sangiovanni (2007) claims that prevailing explanations of the transgovernmentalism phenomenon are ‘indiscriminate’ and though they offer a general explanation of why TGNs have proliferated, fail to adequately specify why we see such variation across policy domains and member states. She asks: ‘why do we see seemingly see a proliferation of TGNs? Why among some states and not others?’ (2007, p. 7). In this sense, these scholarly concerns about how transgovernmental networks are forged echo the concerns of assemblage scholars about the structural conditions in which policy transfer relationships emerge.
Conclusion Across the political science literature, the structure/agency relationship remains central to how we conceive of political outcomes and especially to understanding the pathway to those outcomes. Taking a critical realist approach, as outlined above, renders a clear position on both the necessity of recognising the importance of structure/agency dynamic and further how we might operationalise its insights. Above I’ve argued that fixed, predictive conceits of the socio-political sphere are unsustainable, and that we ought to emphasise not merely the contingency of agency—that actors are reflexive, purposes, strategic learners—but that contingency exists within (indeed is shaped by) broader, deeper structural environment that is temporal (e.g. has histories) and spatial (e.g. has a geographic and social expanse) and differentiated by types of structure, which might
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be economic, social, political, cultural and so on. Such structures intersect and are stratified and produce emergent phenomenon, within which social and political relationships are formed. The case explored here— Anglosphere policy networks—represents an ideal case to explore in this respect, since it calls into being a series of questions that are at once structural—why do these five countries share so many common features?—and emergent—how did these five countries come to share interests ?—and agential—why do policy officials from these five countries engage with one another so readily? Locating the structure/agency dynamics around network formation has been of central importance here. Indeed, I have already briefly given my answer to this question above, but let us repeat it here: Transgovernmental networks do not form by accident, but are rather emergent within a structural environment. This environment is saturated by states’ national identity and interests—which emerges from the intersections of their politics, culture, language, history, institutions and traditions—and primes their propensity for cross-border policy engagement (whether as learning, cooperation, collaboration or otherwise) with some countries as a priority above more than others in what Richard Rose has called a ‘propinquity’. This is the position hinted at by Slaughter when she labels transgovernmental networks a technology that has resulted from changes to the structure of the state: this is the focus of Chapter 4 (but to see the model applied to the case study, skip to Chapter 7).
Notes 1. A further illustration of this might be the combination of hydrogen and oxygen: the constitution of the two creates water, which has a distinctive set of properties. Yet the constitution as water also modifies the properties of the constituent elements; that is, as separate molecules (at room temperature, at sea level) oxygen and hydrogen are both gases. As a water molecule, however, they lose this property and exist as a liquid. The intrinsic properties are not permanently modified, since they may return to their original state under the right conditions, but their constitution as water temporarily negates this property. 2. Indeed, this insight to the interplay of human reflexivity and structural transformation forms the basis of Archer’s morphogenetic conceptualisation of structure and agency. 3. For broader discussions of the impact of ‘global economic imperatives’, see Hay and Rosamond (2002).
4. This relates closely to our conceptualisation of ‘relationships’ between actors. To say that the policy transfer network exists only for the time the transfer ‘is occurring’ implies that the network is only incidental. To contextualise this, consider a transaction between a shopkeeper and a customer: to observe that a transaction has a beginning and an end is the commonsensical position to adopt. However, the transaction is not a material phenomena (except insofar as to say that goods are exchanged); it is a property of the wider system of currency, value, exchange and ownership. It is an emergent property of the wider structures.
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Political-Cultural Propinquity in the Anglosphere
The Anglosphere is not only important as the central case of the book— it also represents an unusually apt lens through which to explore the structural dimensions of policy transfer. These structures are numerous and stem largely from the shared history of these countries. Prominently, these include ideological and administrative traditions such as commitment to a mixed economy, legal systems based on common law tradition, an open society, the values of liberal democracy and so on. They share a common language in the English language and hold to common cultural touchstones such as Judeo-Christian beliefs, holidays and rituals. And, most importantly, these countries have established a military alliance—a tendency that has been cemented institutionally through and after the Cold War in a surveillance alliance dubbed ‘the Five Eyes’. What is more, the ‘Five Eyes’ is increasingly the five partners: the array of institutional linkages within the Anglosphere is not confined to security or defence partnership, but falls into domestic policymaking processes too. Unpacking this dynamic is the intention of this chapter, especially as it relates to our theoretical understanding of national selectivity in policy transfer. One of the important contributions of the policy assemblage scholars has been to draw attention to the importance of context and circumstance in influencing policy mobilities. More specifically, this means we must pay closer attention to the environment which makes some sorts of learning and policy mobilities more
© The Author(s) 2021 T. Legrand, The Architecture of Policy Transfer, Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55821-5_4
likely than others. This chapter unpacks this proposition by exploring the ‘cluster’ of Anglosphere countries. Drawing on assemblage, constructivist and transgovernmental perspectives, the chapter holds culture, values and norms as critical to the coalescence of cross-border policy relations and an important additional explanation of how transnational collaborative environments emerge. These, it is suggested, facilitate (i) the transfer of policy ideas to resolve domestic policy problems and (ii) establish collaborative mechanisms to resolve transnational challenges. Consideration of these novel public sector ‘assemblages’ deepens our empirical and theoretical knowledge of the new spaces of transnational administration.
Cultural Propinquity and the Search for Ideas What structural factors influence the transit of policies between jurisdictions (and which jurisdictions)? In his 1991 article, What Is LessonDrawing? Richard Rose laid the foundations of a research field that has since been pursued by numerous public policy scholars. Rose’s depiction of lesson-drawing is a voluntaristic, purposive process driven by policy officials as a kind of Angewandte Sozialwissensch—‘applied social science’. Rose dismissed the latent diffusion studies literature as embracing ‘a kind of technocratic determinism’ rather than acknowledging the agency of policy-makers. ‘Nearly all studies of the diffusion of measures’, he writes, ‘assume that not only are there common problems but also a common response, regardless of partisan values or political culture’ (1991, p. 9). For Rose, the weakness of diffusion studies was their emphasis on ‘the sequence of diffusion, rather than concentrating upon what is transferred’. Rather, for Rose, the background structural influence of agents’ subjective preferences could not be ignored in the lesson-drawing process: Subjective identification is more important than geographical propinquity in directing search. Neighbours are not necessarily friends. Australia will not turn to a poor neighbour for ideas but to Britain or the United States. British government rarely looks for lessons in public policy to either of the two countries nearest at hand, France and Ireland. (Rose 1991, p. 14)
Rose’s claim of ‘subjective identification’ becomes ‘social psychological proximity’ in his later (1993) work and is broadly allied to broader constructivist debates typically found in IR scholarship. Here, many scholars attest to the powerful albeit subtle influence of endogenous
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cultural or ideational factors on not only inter-state relations, but intrastate coalescence. Simmons and Elkins, for example, suggest that cultural propinquity is a factor explaining how distinctive clusters of states have transitioned towards economic liberalisation (2004, p. 171). Policy emulation, they contend, can be plausibly attributed to underlying ‘nonobvious’ cultural propinquity: ‘Cultural factors underlie economic and financial structures to a greater extent than is often realized’ (2004, p. 175; See also, Legrand 2018). The empirical evidence seems to point in this direction too. Some diffusion analyses find signs of ‘an underlying process of emulation linked to information flow and cultural similarity’ (Lee and Strang 2006, p. 903). Unpacking the amorphous influence of ‘culture’ on state praxis has recently been the preserve of constructivist work in International Relations literatures. Alexander Wendt (1994) is a stand-out figure here, particularly his early work on collective identity formation which posits how communities of states form at the international level. Wendt proceeds from the view that states’ identities and interests are produced through historically contingent interactions and not ‘exogenously given’. On Wendt’s analysis, national status and interests are derived endogenously from an aggregate social interpretation or understanding of those things rather ascribing these an objective, material existence, which of course is the primary analytical frame for orthodox realism, which only holds ‘emergent’ influence for Wendt. This is the basis of meta-theoretical debates on the material-ideational relationship, viz. whether national or agential interests can be derived from an objective assessment of the outcomes of material processes and structures, or intuited subjectively from our understanding of what material structures and processes signify (Risse-Kappen 2016, p. 121). For Wendt’s framework, in the international environment collective identity formation is produced, but not predicted, by the mechanisms of structural context, systemic processes and strategic practice. This is the classic basis of constructivism, which stipulates that the state system of relationships is structured not by material structures but is, rather, derived intersubjectively: Intersubjective systemic structures consist of the shared understanding, expectations, and social knowledge embedded in international institutions and threat complexes, in terms of which states define (some of) their identities and interests. (p. 389)
As suggested in the previous chapter, structures are not fixed and immutable—the constant churn of global social, political and economic practices means that they are structural in their consequence, insofar as they facilitate or inhibit identity formation (Wendt, p. 390), but are far from ineluctable determinants of state identity. Rather, Wendt identifies two systemic processes of interdependence and transnational convergence on domestic values as holding a more apparent impact on identity. The former refers to the much-studied increased density of social or economic global traffic, which produces the sense that ‘as the degree of common fate increases, so does the incentive to identify with others’. On the latter view, the gradual diffusion of social and cultural values, whether as ideology or institutions, results in reduced differentiation between nations: ‘As heterogeneity decreases, so does the rationale for identities that assume that they are fundamentally different from us ’ (p. 390). Finally, in strategic practice, Wendt claims agents are central to identity formation in the behavioural and rhetorical forms of interaction. By cooperating with their peers in other states, agents are engaged in an interactive behaviour that produces a shared identity and values: By showing others through cooperative acts that one expects them to be cooperators too, one changes the intersubjective knowledge in terms of which their identities are defined. Second, through interaction actors are also trying to project and sustain presentations of self. (p. 390)
The result of cooperative behaviours is to transform how the self and other are understood and internalised: ‘actors are simultaneously learning to identify with each other - to themselves as a “we” bound by certain norms’ (p. 390). Finally, Wendt turns to rhetorical forms of interaction. He argues that rhetoric can have similar effects as behaviour, but are communicated as, inter alia, consciousness raising, dialogue, discussion and persuasion, education, ideological labour, political argument and symbolic action. These efforts represent a third-order conception of power insofar as they can shape how others understand their own interests. Crucially, Wendt suggests: The goal of rhetorical practices in collective action is to create solidarity; thus they may have an important expressive function independent of their instrumental value in realising collective goals. (p. 391)
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There is a subtle but important structure-agency dynamic at play here: agents are undoubtedly influenced by a pre-existing understanding of their identity and interests, understood as their intersubjective structural environment, but in cooperating with others they can transform how other state agents understand their environment, changing the structural environment. Wendt’s work has been important to a range of literatures, not least those concerned with the movement and translation of policies between states, communities and regions, such as NATO (Risse-Kappen 1996, 2016), South America (Mesquita 2016; Santos 2015) and Europe (Rumelili and Cebeci 2015; See Hebel and Lenz 2013 for a summary of how identity manifests in foreign policy-making). Some insights are instructive for the purposes of this chapter. First, collective identities are not (necessarily) determined by geographic proximity, but are subject to structural endogenous influences that coalesce inter-state groups that emerge from shared identities, norms and values. Agents are embedded in an intersubjective structural environment, but their actions are neither determined by structure nor are the outcomes of agency inconsequential for the structure itself: structure and agency are mutually constitutive. Second, the rhetoric of cooperation is just as important as the behaviours of cooperation in reinforcing collective identity. That is, where relationships are made tangible by collaborations, the coalescence around a shared value and identity is cemented by rhetoric acclaiming that collaboration. Notwithstanding the value of Wendt and associated constructivist endorsements of identity formation, we might also express some reservations. Though often accused of a ‘rump materialism’ (Blyth 2010, p. 169), Wendt’s analysis is one that is forward-looking. Historical configurations and relationships that prefigure collective identities do not feature prominently. Yet, the dynamics posited by Wendt do not become irrelevant in these examples, but indeed are ever more pertinent to explaining why historical alliances persist and/or deepen. Second, there are few clues about the genesis of values that underpin cooperative behaviour. From where do these emerge? And are some more powerful than others? For many constructivists, national values, identity, norms and interests are influenced by long-standing endogenous national dynamics of policy traditions or social culture.
Cultural Propinquity and Identity Consolidation Understanding how national identities emerge is as much a matter of historical, anthropological and social analysis as it is political, and here we find not one but many possible literatures across the disciplines. My concern here is not with the emergent processes that produce or lead to hetero—or homogenous national identities, but rather with the proposition that we can aggregate national identities and make these discernible—perhaps imperfectly and certainly with disputes—by virtue of some common frames of reference. Typically, national identities are constituted by those who lay claim to that identity over time and usually, though certainly not true of diasporas, situated against a place. Values change, and they can change rapidly. The sorts of mainstream social values that tabloid readers might not have blinked at in 1960s Britain or Australia or USA, of casual sexism, homophobia or racial discrimination, for example, are abhorred today. Equally, the large-scale migration of the same era widened the spectrum of ethnicities in those countries to weaken any claims of ethnicity-based national identity (notwithstanding the efforts of far-right nationalist movements). So, if social values transform over time, are we to assume that national identities are unfixed and mercurial, forever resistant to characterisation? Of course, the answer is no: there are a great many persistent features of national identity, of which history and mythology are almost always prominent, that produces distinctive visages of identity(ies). Yet, the precise forms of and precepts that make up national identities and claimed by subjects is not for this or any other researcher to say, and not least because no two claims are likely to be the same. Rather, and pursuant to a constructivist stance, we can more readily claim that identity is something imagined and constructed and reconstructed by subjects. Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities probes the question of how nationness or nationality is produced. Nations, he suggests, can be regarded as an ‘imagined political community’ and ‘cultural artefacts of a particular kind’. On Anderson’s view, members of a community internalise an ‘image of their communion’ shared with others in that community, which exists as ‘a deep, horizontal comradeship’. There is a distinct separateness between those of the community and those beyond it (2006, p. 7). David Miller argues that ‘the story a nation tells itself about its past is a selective one’ (2016, p. 448). That is to say, that discourses of nationness matter very much in the process of forming widespread and shared meanings of a cultural identity (cf. Wodak 2009). National
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identities are conjured by individuals, through shared dialogues, to the extent that they internalise some set of criteria that give rough meaning to ‘nationness’, which incidentally for individuals might include a sense of belonging to one, multiple or no national identities; or that conflicts may arise between competing depictions of national identify—amongst Nordic countries, for example, Hansen suggests a ‘state nationalism’ rubs up against a ‘cultural nationalism’ (2003, p. 2). Given the imponderables, it would be reckless to claim there are fixed criteria to identity; indeed, the criteria used may or may not be exclusive to a community—a national penchant for tea might be as stereotypically British as it is Chinese, Kenyan or Indian, for example—and it might include psyche, geography, institutions, customs, religious beliefs, ethnicities, a particular reading of the community’s history, language or dialect, social norms and laws, and so on. How these criteria are rendered is a matter of ongoing social construction, in which some narratives about nationness are more persuasive, or otherwise appealing, than others. And so, there emerge renderings of nationness that dominate more than others, oftentimes irrespective of the veracity of the claims that constitute them. Taking the constructivist tack allows us, first, to acknowledge that national identity is not intransitive, fixed object, but fungible and indeterminate (and therefore almost certainly unhelpful for the sorts of predictions that positivist social science might seek). Second, it gives greater licence to look at the use of national identities in politics; how national identities are constructed, framed and deployed. Third, it provides a stronger hint about how agents hold pre-existing ideas of alikeness or affinities with states where the imagined elements of nationness overlap, ally and/or correspond.
Towards Transgovernmental Propinquity Uncovering shared or overlapping national identities is, I argue, central to understanding the pathways and channels of cross-border exchange. This is not a novel position: the world is crisscrossed by culturally-based interstate alliances that exist as the legacies of a colonial era, medieval conquest or pre-Westphalian monarchical alliance. I have suggested elsewhere that this is a form of cultural centripetalism (Legrand 2019). These interstate communities have proceeded not (always) from the convenience of geographic proximity, of which the EU and ASEAN are examples, but
shared socio-historical narratives of a shared or overlapping identity. The Nordic countries are an instructive example. The contemporary Nordic Council, ‘Norden’, represents the formal expression of political cooperation that proceeds between the states, especially but not exclusively on cross-border issues. The basis of the collaboration, as the name suggests, is one born of the identity of Nordism and the culmination of centuries of factions, fractures and friendship (cf. Hansen and Wæver 2003). Though just 27 million, it is the 12th largest economy in the world. Certainly, this is a geographic grouping, but it is a community that expresses a distinct historical and cultural shared identity set against global forces: Nordic co-operation promotes Nordic and regional interests and values in a globalised world. Shared Nordic values make the Region one of the most innovative and competitive in the world.1
Similar cultural coalescence is apparent amongst the ‘Visegrad group’ of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The official Visegrad website states that these countries ‘have always been part of a single civilization sharing cultural and intellectual values and common roots in diverse religious traditions, which they wish to preserve and further strengthen’. Bordering Norden are the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which in turn collaborate via the Baltic Assembly, established in 1990. Looking farther afield, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries—Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa—has steadily expanded its membership since it was established in 1996, to include Lusophone countries from four continents including Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor and Guinea-Bissau. An artefact of the colonial era, this is a multilateral collaboration of states that share a structural dependency of a common language and a commitment to inter-governmental cooperation. They explicitly aim to ‘Consolidate the national and multinational cultural reality that confers upon the Portuguese-speaking countries an identity of their own’. The CPLP is a not inconsiderable undertaking: in 2013, its collective GDP was US$2.629 trillion and had a population of around 267m people,2 around half of the EU’s population of 508m and considerably less than its GDP of US$18.03 trillion.3 These are some examples amongst a range of inter-state alliances and contextualise the inter-state cultural grouping of interest to this book: the Anglosphere.
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The Anglosphere Amongst the numerous inter-state alliances that exist today, the Anglosphere represents a prototypical example of shared or overlapping national identity. It begins with the UK’s imperial history: arguably, no country has benefited more from the colonial era than the UK. The British Empire was the express carrier of the country’s putative ‘civilising’ values. At its peak, it covered more than a quarter of the globe, dominating trade and international politics. Though its colonial territories have almost all been relinquished (with some notable exceptions, not least the Lagos Islands), the strategies of colonialism included installing systems of education in English and a comprehensive programme of establishing political institutions as pastiches of Westminster. Though the withdrawal of the UK from Africa, South and Central America and Asia was largely complete by the 1960s, more than half a century later a certain ‘stickiness’ of aspects of the colonial legacy can be discerned. Politically, the Commonwealth of Nations (‘the Commonwealth’) now exists as a community of Britain’s former colonial territories. As with the Portuguese CPLP, colonial-era artefacts remain important dimensions of Commonwealth national or community identities, for better or worse. Immigration flows and education systems conforming to historiocities reproduce, whilst changing, the colonial relationship. The path-dependent costs of changing institutions, systems and infrastructure are powerful deterrents to wholesale rescinding of those artefacts, even assuming the existence of a political will to do so. Against this backdrop, it is widely held that the institutions of the colonial era retain a hand in the transfer of ideas between those jurisdictions. Specifically, the legacy of a ‘Westminster’ system of government, it is argued, promotes the commensurability (from the perspectives of legal and administrative traditions) of policies. Peter Larmour has written authoritatively on the transfer of the Westminster system across South Pacific nations, which has occurred ‘almost irrespective of underlying social and political conditions’ (2002, p. 39). Larmour’s claims are structural and contingent: he concludes that ‘Westminster succeeds not because of its internal virtues (which are somewhat arbitrary), or its appropriateness to local conditions (which may not matter). It succeeds because it was there first’ (p. 53). Notwithstanding Larmour’s view of the relative immutability of Westminster structures, Corbett and Veenendaal’s analysis of Pacific and Caribbean small states finds degrees of institutional variability that suggest Westminster ‘is not a fixed institutional category’
and ‘elite actors in particular have a considerable amount of discretion over the direction in which political practices and institutional reforms take’ (2015, p. 442). The Anglosphere’s Historic Alliance Notwithstanding the inter-state relationships maintained through Commonwealth, it is a small cluster of ‘Anglo’ states that have engineered the most enduring and intensive inter-state alliance. There are a number of definitions of the Anglosphere available but Willetts puts it well: ‘At its heart is the Special Relationship between Great Britain and the USA but it includes New Zealand, Australia, Canada and, in interesting and complicated ways, Ireland and India’ (2007, p. 60). The special relationship, sorely tested under the Trump presidency, has been forged through peace and war. For Jan Fichtner, the two countries share ‘deep common political and socioeconomic roots’ which gives the footing for ‘Anglo-America’s dominant structural power’ in finance (2017, p. 3). Duncan Bell depicts a late Victorian ‘rapprochement’ which cemented the Anglo-American alliance and secured the commitment of US troops to the Western Front during World War 1 and paved the path for the proliferation of informal transatlantic networks and institutions (2016, p. 197). The Anglo military alliance, which in World War I included Australian, Canadian, Irish, New Zealander troop commitments (and significant troop contributions from across the wider Commonwealth), persisted beyond World War I into World War II and recent military engagements in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq (see Holland 2020), and beyond. John Halligan (2015) comments that this Anglo-American identity, which he finds is ‘historically formed and culturally supported by language and heritage’, plays out in the cultural legacy and institutional relationships between Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand: Location and institutions also play a part. The antipodean countries of Australia and New Zealand have closely linked pathways, and Canadian development has reflected that nation’s proximity to the US, although both pairings involve at least one significant difference in governance structures. The combination of federalism and Westminster has linked Canada and Australia, whereas unitary government has produced a special bond between Britain and New Zealand’. (2015, p. 61)
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The Anglosphere states institutional relationship has a shared historic basis. Michael Kenny and Nick Pearce identify common roots of the Anglosphere state relationship as ‘liberal, protestant, free-market, democratic and English-speaking’ (2016, p. 304). These emerge from the colonial legacy from which path-dependent features have become established and now cemented in their respective national identities and interests. Amongst others, the Westminster facsimile state architecture remains widely in place (with the USA as a notable exception), along with commensurate liberal democratic institutions and common law jurisprudence. Together, these operate as structural compatibilities that facilitate, in the least, state relationships between these analogues and, potentially, direct their global policy engagement towards one another. Indeed, Keohane and Nye concluded ‘regularized policy coordination’ of the British Commonwealth might operate as a precursor of ‘transgovernmental elite networks’ which connect government officials ‘by ties of common interest, professional orientation, and personal friendship’ (1974, p. 46). The Anglosphere Today In recent years, and especially during the querulous negotiation period in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum in 2016, prominent neoconservative thinkers sought to equate the Anglosphere with a particular notion of global stability and security. Lawrence Mead, for example, wrote the following: ‘The Anglo nations - singly or in concert - have taken a special responsibility for the world order. Somehow they are available to deal with chaos and aggression abroad, as other countries are not’ (2005, p. 1). As a consequence of this neo-conservative cheerleading, scholars have been reluctant to embrace a concept with such strong connotations of nineteenth-century colonialism and military interventionism, and so it seems ‘The Anglosphere is unattractive as an analytical category because it carries the burden of political and normative reappropriations’ (Vucetic 2011, p. 6). In the international domain, Vucetic observes that the Anglosphere operates as a ‘distinct international, transnational, civilizational, and imperial entity within the global society’ (2011, p. 2). Further, within the systems of public administration, there is an Anglo-Saxon state tradition that ‘draws a clearer boundary between state and civil society; there is no legal basis to the state; and civil servants have no constitutional position’
(Bevir and Richards 2009, p. 10). Some of these traits can be regarded as a priori; that is, they are independent variables from which others emanate. • A first-order legacy: the shared heritage of the colonial era. Colonial heritage—exerted via British imperialism—precedes all else. • Second-order structures might then be regarded as those derived directly from the colonial era: English culture and language, religion, precepts of liberal democracy, legal philosophy, democratic participation; mercantilism or capitalism, state infrastructure and so on. • Third-tier characteristics —related to policy—emerge from this milieu: policy protocols, political partisanship, legitimacy and equity, social justice norms and, indeed, perhaps elitism, class and gender roles and so on.
New Public Management and Institutional Alignment in the Anglosphere ‘New Public Management’ is a moniker retrospectively bestowed on a series of government reforms that began sometime in the 1980s and continued through into the 1990s. Though the precise criteria of NPM reforms remain subject to debate, there is consensus that the core tenets of marketization, managerialism and measurement were central to “goalcentred and information-based approaches, including program budgeting, [and] ‘management by objectives’” (Dollery et al. 2008, p. 13; see also Duffy 2017, Bjørnholt and Larsen 2014). These were administrative tools borrowed from the private sector that prima facie would produce public services that were leaner, cheaper and allowed the end-user more choice by new technologies of governing, such as arms-length management; agencification; target-setting; and public-private partnerships. Though it was right-leaning administrations that midwifed the NPM reforms, Hood suggests ‘there seems to be no simple relationship between the political stripe of governments (in so far as that can be gauged) and the degree of emphasis laid on NPM’ (Hood 1995, p. 107). The era of NPM induced a series of structural changes that were transformative to many countries, but especially those of the Anglosphere.
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Yates, Woelert, Millar and O’Connor note: ‘Public administration reforms that were inspired by NPM principles and ideas swept throughout the Anglosphere from the 1980s onward’ (2017). Similarly, Common finds: ‘it appears that this particular global “revolution” in the public sector is in fact confined to a small handful of English-speaking countries, notably the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand’ (Common 1998, p. X; see also Hood 1991; Krahmann 2003; Pollitt and Bouckaert 2011; Rosta-Miklos 2011). B Guy Peters and Jon Pierre contrast politicisation of ‘Anglo-American’ systems of administration with ‘‘Napoleonic’, Scandinavian and Germanic traditions. All of the Anglo-American systems have been affected heavily by the ideas of NPM but the United Kingdom appears to have begun a process of politicization well before those ideas became popular, and fully implemented. (2004, p. 9)
NPM and Institutional Preconditions in the Anglosphere Why did the NPM reforms sweep so quickly and specifically through Anglo states? Pollitt and Bouckaert suggest that commonalities in executive government, administrative culture and ministers and senior public service relationships can promote the uptake of specific configurations of policy-related measures: ‘Thus, certain regimes look as though they are much more open to the ‘performance-driven’, market-favouring ideas of the NPM than others: particularly the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ countries, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA’ (2011, p. 73). This is affirmed by Finkelstein: But the development of a common approach to issues of public management is an altogether different matter. This agenda, which our fellow Europeans are currently inclined to label as ‘Anglo-Saxon’, has a common point of origin in attitudes towards state bureaucracies and a shared agenda in the so-called ‘New Public Management’. (Finkelstein 2000, p. ix)
According to Pierre, normative and structural preconditions made the adoption of NPM reforms easier to accomplish in some states more than others: ‘particularly the Anglo-American democracies and the Antipodes – than in others; a pattern which substantiates the role of democratic
institutions in adapting global concepts of reform to national normative and structural preconditions’ (Pierre 2013, p. 121). The structural preconditions and normative commitments specific to the Anglosphere are explored above, but almost certainly include variables such as a common language and ideological commitments commensurate with the reforms sought. Christopher Pollitt makes a contiguous observation on the dominance and decline of Anglophone public management models. Pollitt suggests that as a topic public management is dominated by Anglosphere countries; yet, whilst they have global prominence, due partly to the endorsements of international organisations, this has not translated into global dominance in the ‘international marketplace for ideas’: In sum, we need to understand the dominance of Anglosphere public management thinking in terms of a developing international network of officials, consultants and academics who, with institutional support and the immense good fortune of having the English language as mother tongue, achieved a very strong position in the increasingly international marketplace for ideas. (2015, p. 6)
The era of New Public Management is relevant here for three reasons. First, in and of itself, the reforms themselves were forms of policy transfer, but as noted by Finkelstein above, NPM emerged partly from the shared philosophy of public sector management that already prevailed in these states: that is, the structural and ideological conditions in the Anglosphere states were instrumental (though perhaps not outright determinants) in their adoption and implementation of New Public Management reforms. As Pollitt and Bouckaert (2011) note, the performance-driven and market-favouring approaches—structural conditions—of these states facilitated the uptake of incumbent to NPM. For other authors, the importance of national institutions and cultures is affirmed by the converging tendencies arising from NPM precepts (Flynn and Strehl 1996; Pollitt and Bouckaert 2000), and it is for this reason that Newman suggests that NPM underwent more extensive development in the Anglo-Saxon countries of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA than elsewhere (Janet Newman, p. 73). Against this backdrop, it should come as no surprise that officials of the Anglosphere states undertaken well-documented bilateral policy transfers in the aftermath of NPM reforms (i.e. Daguerre and Taylor-Gooby 2004; Jones and Newburn 2002; Legrand 2012; McGuire 2001) as it suggests that
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domestic officials naturally look to the experiences of counterparts in managing the persistent artefacts of NPM. On this perspective, a policy transfer approach indicates that policy officials are concerned not just with inter-government collaboration, but with deriving the best lessons available from counterparts sharing a similar set of challenges and, crucially, a shared mindset of what is possible and desirable in public administration. Second, the institutional alignment through which NPM reforms emerged also set the scene for a reconfiguration of the social contract under the terms of the Third Way philosophy (this is the focus of the next chapter). Third, and the focus of the concluding section in this chapter, one of the key products of this era was a change in the relationship between the state and non-state providers of public services (indeed, it widened the opportunities for non-state providers of public services) and between agencies themselves and with the mode of policy-making and delivery supplanted—or supplemented at least—by governing through networks with greater decision-making autonomy granted to administrative leaders. NPM and Networks as a Technology of Governance One of the major consequences of New Public Management reforms was to weaken forms of hierarchical and centralised decision-making and introduce the era of network-based decision-making and implementation. On the former, the loosening of political control by the executive sets the scene for more autonomous forms of policy decision. Christensen finds that ‘Formal changes give subordinate leaders and institutions increased authority and there is often normative pressure to keep political executives from interfering’. The downstream effect of this is that administrative leaders have acquired greater authority and latitude to act (Christensen 2006, p. 458). R. A. W. Rhodes situates this dynamic in the Anglogovernance model, which frames the rise of decentralised and fragmented collection of decision-making and policy-setting organs in the 1980s and 1990s (Rhodes 1990, 1994, 1997; Marsh and Rhodes 1992)—the era which entailed ‘a shift from hierarchy to markets to networks’ (Rhodes 2007, p. 1254). As the state’s own services were rolled-up, private sector providers were given preferential access to bid for and deliver key public services. Not only private sector but also community and not-for-profit organisations were regarded as partners in the determination of policy
settings, and their delivery too. Noting the array of network forms across social science, Rhodes defines networks thus: Policy networks are sets of formal institutional and informal linkages between governmental and other actors structured around shared if endlessly negotiated beliefs and interests in public policy making and implementation. These actors are interdependent and policy emerges from the interactions between them. (Rhodes 2006, p. 426)
In Rhodes’ disaggregated conception of the state, ‘networks’ are presented as inter-dependent relationships between government and nongovernment actors, within which policy aims and implementation emerge in a process of lobbying, consultation and bargaining between the interests of network participants. Because of the variable nature of network relationships, there is a spectrum of network types that range from loosely-cohered issue networks to tightly-bound policy communities. [a policy community is…] a limited number of participants with some groups consciously excluded; frequent and high-quality interaction between all members of the community on all matters related to the policy issues; consistency in values, membership, and policy outcomes which persist over time; consensus, with the ideology, values, and broad policy preferences shared by all participants; and exchange relationships based on all members of the policy community controlling some resources. (2006, pp. 427–428)
The rise in administrative autonomy from political control and greater use of networks are integral to the trends of the disaggregation of the state Anne-Marie Slaughter refers to in A New World Order. Public administration scholars are already alert to the notion of the disaggregation of the state, since it refers—at the domestic level—to the moving locus of power, whereby hierarchical models of decision-making are being replaced or supplanted by alternate means of decision-making. And so the question of ‘who governs and how’ is the logical, and urgent, quest for those who apprehend fragmenting and disaggregated policy processes (Benson and Jordan 2011, p. 373). Yet a second trend—at the international level—complicates this picture even more. The influence of international finance and markets can be as important to domestic social and economic outcomes as government interventions, and so draws power even further away from the state and the reach of domestic officials (Bevir 2008).
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This is the surging transnationalism, discussed in the opening chapter of this book, in which modern societies exist in ‘complex interdependency’ (Keohane and Nye 1972). The rise in collective action problems—climate change being a prime example—requires states to give up some of their autonomy and perhaps sovereignty too in order to secure gains. But with whom should states collaborate to ameliorate the surging threats of the international domain and secure their national interests?
Understanding the Anglosphere in the Era of Networks Above we have traced the contours of a long-standing and steadily solidifying cross-national cultural propinquity in and of the Anglosphere. The effects of the colonial era were transformative for the (mis)fortunes of the globe in many respects, but the most powerful legacy remains the shaping of international alliances and especially the prevailing order of the Anglosphere states. Theorising the role of culture and identity in state behaviour has been the preserve of constructivist International Relations theorists and especially Alexander Wendt’s work on the nature of cross-national collaboration and national identity. As discussed here, Wendt reveals that cooperative behaviour between states results in the cementing of collective norms and collective identity; that is, national interests become increasingly coterminous with the group’s interests and establishing solidarity. It is in strategic practices of behaviour and rhetoric, Wendt argues, that coheres shared identities and establishes shared norms. This has two implications here: first, it hints at the material impact of national identity in directing who to learn from. Second, this is a recursive relationship insofar as the effect of learning is to produce greater mutual identification of interests and norms. Third, we gain a potentially greater understanding from Wendt on why, and with what repercussions, the Anglosphere states have cohered around common interests, identity and norms. The ‘Anglosphere’ is a multifaced conceptual framing and laden normatively with the overtones of the imperial mindset and more than a few hints of new conservatism in the contemporary era (see Wellings 2020). The military and defence alliance, and not least in respect of the combined signals intelligence facilities, is the longest-standing institutional manifestation of this alliance, but is far from the only one. The opening pages of the introduction point to the forms of public policy collaboration within this group that are apparent today, and Chapter 7
charts an even wider range of Anglosphere policy networks. Framing this relationship requires us to engage with the Anglosphere terminology to assign some analytical role for the concept. In the framing advanced above, we can conceive of the Anglosphere in respect of the five core states—Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and USA—and a series of nested shared traits: the first-order legacy of the shared heritage of the colonial era; second-order structures that derive from the colonial era, such as English culture and language, religion, precepts of liberal democracy, legal philosophy, bureaucratic traditions, mercantilism or capitalism, and state infrastructure; and third-order characteristics that emerge from these: policy protocols, political partisanship, legitimacy and equity, and social justice norms. Situated within this conceptual framing of the Anglosphere nested traits is the substantive case of institutional alignment under the NPM paradigm, which developed in parallel across the five countries. Though it is beyond the empirical focus of this book to tell a causal story of the spread of administrative ideas within specific countries, the overwhelming consensus amongst public administration literature is that, globally, NPM reforms emanated largely from and to Anglosphere states. It is argued by some (e.g. Pierre 2013; Finkelstein 2000), this was because of the common administrative traditions and cultures present in those countries—a consequence of the colonial era’s propagation of Anglo-Saxon governing institutions and processes, I argue. The next chapter explores the relationship between NPM, the Third Way and welfare-to-work ideas. Here, I want to explore the structural change that ensued from NPM: the turn to networks. I suggest that networks as mode of domestic governance, yet the transgovernmental dimension is less explored as TGNs. First, these are the countries that, with shared institutional, ideological and cultural commitments, had by the 1990s established a distinctive approach to restructuring the relationship between the state and the public. The New Public Management reforms established not only the groundwork for the adoption of Third Way ideological and administrative innovations, as we will see in the next chapter, it provided the opportunity structures for future collaboration and policy learning in the 1990s and 2000s. Second, the structural transformation of NPM had the effect of precipitating network governance, which itself facilitated the process of sharing policy information and learning between countries that had forged a commensurate system of governing.
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Notes 1. https://www.norden.org/en/information/formal-nordic-co-operation. 2. Taken from: https://hub.globalccsinstitute.com/publications/carbon-cap ture-and-storage-community-portuguese-language-countries-opportunitiesand-challenges/1-cplp-community-portuguese-language-countries. 3. Taken from World Bank: data.worldbank.orbg.
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The Third Way and the Landscape of Welfare Reform: Australia, UK and USA
Introduction This chapter, along with Chapters 6 and 7, constitutes the empirical component of this book. Together, the three chapters trace a lockstep ideational evolution across the Anglosphere, which includes (i) the adoption of NPM, against a background of already strong proximity; (ii) the transition into Third Way ideas and the production of the need to transform welfare; (iii) into the establishment of highly interactive and interpersonal elite networks. As the previous chapter suggests, the history of amity, exchange and collaboration between the policy officials of the Anglosphere prefigures a range of compatible institutional settings. We might describe these as concomitant, but not (yet) convergent: rather, my suggestion so far is that the historical context of the Anglosphere operates as a structural influence, but not as a structural determinant. This chapter explores the ideological background to what is, ostensibly at least, the beginning of the era of Anglosphere shared institutional architecture. First a methodological proviso: the empirical data relied on here is drawn from Australia, the UK and the USA: within the constraints of resources, the project research did not have capacity to explore Canada and New Zealand, though Chapter 7 does expand briefly into these countries too. So, the purpose here is to undertake a sort of ideational archaeology in these three countries, tracing the heritage and intellectual development of the Anglo model of welfare-to-work. I approach this © The Author(s) 2021 T. Legrand, The Architecture of Policy Transfer, Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55821-5_5
by looking back at the conditions that gave rise to the prevailing attitudes towards welfare support during the 1990s in Australia, UK and USA. Most noticeable within this period is the impact that Third Way ideas were having upon government policy-makers, and the consequent rhetorical emphases on ‘rights and responsibilities’ which were packaged with renewed conceptions of community. The similarities in discourse and philosophy between the three countries are striking and display a shared commitment to projects of welfare restructuring. Here we survey the landscape of welfare politics in Australia, the UK and USA from the mid-90s to the early 2000s, drawing attention to the policy settings of active labour market policies (ALMPs) of each country, drawing attention to the salient features of each, since the sheer magnitude of programmes make it impossible to examine each and every one in a meaningful way. So, I have selected the main frontline programmes and ALMP measures for each country from the late 1990s to early 2000s. In the case of the USA and its plethora of state-administered systems, I have selected those measures and programmes that the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA hereafter) legislation endorses, although of course some of the more widely-known state approaches will also be mentioned. The chapter is divided into two sections. The first section begins with an overview of ALMP and what the term has come to mean. It explores the constituent programmes of ALMP and links these with the philosophical commitments of the Third Way. An examination of the Third Way is seen as crucial to understanding the governing ethos of the governing actors in Australia, the UK and the USA during the 1990s. The chapter unpacks the ideas most closely associated with the Third Way and goes on to demonstrate how welfare-to-work policies grew out of Third Way ideology. In the second section, the chapter examines the welfare policy portfolios of the USA, the UK and Australia, respectively, during the 1990s. First, it looks at the political development of the PRWORA legislation in the USA (highlighting the strong Republican influence over the policy). Second, it tracks the development of the New Deal in the UK with a strong emphasis on the introduction of the welfare-to-work ideas. The introductory period is seen as crucial as it is in this period that the influence of overseas policies is most apparent. Finally, it addresses the development of two associated policy platforms in Australia: the notion
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of ‘mutual obligation’ and its heavy parallels with the Third Way and punitive welfare policies; and Paul Keating’s introduction of Working Nation. The chapter concludes by arguing that the philosophical commitments of the three policy approaches in these countries were commensurate and gave rise to parallel commitments to restructure labour market and welfare politics.
Invigorating the Workforce: The Rise of Active Labour Market Policy None among the poor should be idle, provided, of course, that he is fit for work by his age and health… Therefore, no one must be permitted to live indolently in the state; rather, as in a well-ordered home, everyone has his own role and its related tasks to perform. As the saying goes, ‘By doing nothing, men learn to do evil.’ Jean Luis Vives (1492–1540 CE)
Failure to overcome successive employment crises in the 1980s and 1990s prompted conservative USA, Australian and UK governments to re-examine the state’s engagement with labour markets. Unable to manipulate demand-based levers to halt rising levels of unemployment, policy officials began to seek alternative policy levers: ‘Dissatisfaction with the efficacy of narrowly defined policies of demand management and monetary control led to greater interest in examining the impact of supply side constraints, especially in the labour market, on economic performance’ (Banks et al. 2005, p. 62). The move to supply-side management in the early 1990s stimulated a wholesale shift in labour market thinking; one that was marked by an increasing reluctance to interfere with market movements. Policy-makers claimed that the corresponding shift in the operations, functions and logics of capitalism meant that ‘the basis for state intervention, the mixed economy, nationalisation and the provision of public services, [had] been radically undermined’ (Ferguson et al. 2002, p. 132). Notably, this approach is prominent within Anglo-Saxon political traditions. In Welfare and Work in the Open Economy, Scharpf and Schmidt contrast ‘Continental’, ‘Scandinavian’ and ‘Anglo-Saxon’ welfare states (Table 5.1): Within the Anglo-Saxon tradition, it is axiomatic to the neoliberal model of active labour market policy (ALMP) that the available pool of labour is able to be both adaptable to supply the caprices of the national
Table 5.1 Constellations of welfare states (Scharpf and Schmidt 2000, p. 11) Characteristics and properties
Rights Responsibilities Claiming principles Beneficiaries Goal
Individual Individual Need Poor Poverty alleviation
Social security transfer Caring services
Individual Collective Citizenship All citizens Equality/income maintenance Flat-rate/contribution related State
Type of financing Source of financing Gender and status effect
Taxation State/market Neutral
Taxation/contribution State Pro-equality
Family Collective Work/family needs Male breadwinner Income maintenance Contribution related Family/intermediary groups Contribution State/earner Differentiated
(post-industrial, post-Keynesian) economy, and has a constant surplus of available labour. Labour market flexibility is the crucial dictum of this new logic: creating a market of skilled labour that can adapt to the rises and falls in job-demand across the range of industrial sectors. The pay-off is seen as twofold: (i) it provides a steady source of skilled labour which contributes to economic stability and growth, and (ii) it offers individuals more opportunities to access gainful employment and thus reduces welfare dependency and expenditure (Rueda 2006). Welfare-to-work policy is the most prominent example of ALMP (De Koning et al. 2004). Using a combination of incentive (or punitive) programmes and interventions, welfare-to-work policies cajole the unemployed into the labour market directly or indirectly via transitory voluntary work schemes which offer the work experience necessary to make an individual ‘more employable’. The central principle of ALMP is that workers must be equipped with sufficient skills or resources to meet the changing employment needs/requirements. More general levers to increase flexibility include: (i) the avoidance of mechanisms that could increase wage levels above productivity levels; (ii) the removal of barriers to mobility (such as non-transferable pension schemes); (iii) the introduction of flexible working hours (Brodsky 1994, p. 55); or (iv) the weakening of the employer–employee contract, making it easier
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for employers to jettison excess labour (and all that entails for unions). The direct applications of ALMPs are most often seen through various government employment initiatives. Common examples of these schemes include: • Training and education: this might be vocational or offer assistance in remedial skills (literacy, numeracy, etc.) (OECD 2001, p. 82). • Youth schemes: using employment programmes and/or apprenticeships to give school leavers an employment start (OECD 2001, p. 82). • Employment subsidies: offering employers financial incentives to employ ‘hard-to-place’ workers (Layard 2001, p. 2). • Job-seeking help: offering information and support appropriately tailored to the job seeker by matching their skills and experience to employment opportunities (Layard 2001, p. 2). • Work experience: offering the unemployed the chance to gain work experience on government-sponsored and/or charity work schemes (Layard 2001, p. 2). These initiatives constitute the supportive mechanisms underpinning welfare-to-work policy, insofar as they create the channels for the unemployed to access job opportunities. However, they are accompanied by a concomitant set of punitive measures to provide an inducement for the unemployed to engage with the given opportunities. Variously, these measures include: a reduction in the amount paid to the unemployed to subsistence levels; time limits on claiming unemployment benefit; limits on the number of job offers an opportunity may refuse; or making benefit payments conditional on regular contact with the employment agency: Welfare-to-work must involve the principle of mutual obligation. The state has an obligation to ensure that offers of work are channelled to every unemployed person within a reasonable time after becoming unemployed. But in return the citizen should take advantage of those offers, and lose some or all of their benefit if they do not do so, unless there are medical reasons to the contrary. (De Koning et al. 2004, p. 11: Joint International Unit, DWP/DfES)
The Third Way and Its Advocates The ideational foundations of welfare-to-work merits close attention, for these underpinning ideas are illustrative of the philosophy of the ‘Third Way’. In the late 1990s, the Third Way philosophy was deployed extensively in political circles and promulgated endlessly by academics, particularly Anthony Giddens. Tracing its ideational development is a complicated task: ‘In the first place, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly whose idea the Third Way is, or whether this matters much. It is also hard to establish just when it came into prominence, or how long vibrant debate around it has lasted’ (McLennan 2004, p. 485; see also White 1998; Pierson and Castles 2002; Barrientos and Powell 2018). Pierson and Castles claim that the Third Way is better understood as shorthand for the repositioning of previously centre-left parties in the centre (2002, p. 683). The abandonment of traditional lines of political orientation makes the job of pinpointing the Third Way’s agenda more difficult: We know, of course, what the third way is not: it is not old-fashioned state socialism or statist social democracy, and it is not free market neoliberalism. We know also that it aims to reconcile a neo-liberal emphasis on economic efficiency and dynamism, with a traditional left concern with equity and social cohesion. (White 1998, p. 1)
Whilst pointing that out, we might also observe that the uptake and resonance of the Third Way since the 1990s (regardless of where or when it emerged) has been significant. Let’s begin with summaries of the Third Way by its chief protagonists, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, sharing a platform in New York in 1998: [T]he whole idea of this third way is that we believe in activist government, but highly disciplined. On the economic front, we want to create the conditions and give people the tools to make the most of their own lives, the empowerment notion. On the social front, we want to provide rights to people but they must assume certain duties. Philosophically, we support a concept of community in which everyone plays a role. (Bill Clinton, Speech to New York University School of Law, 21 September 1998) It [the Third Way] leaves behind, if you like, the old left that was about big government or state-controlled tax-and-spend, and it is not the politics of laissez-faire, either. It is an attempt, as I say, to construct a different politics of community for today’s world… Socially, it is about a different
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contract of citizenship. It’s saying, for example, in the welfare system, look, there are rights and duties that go together. (Tony Blair, Speech to New York University School of Law, 21 September 1998)
These parsimonious summaries of the Third Way philosophy hint at the central themes in the various policy initiatives undertaken by both the Democrats and New Labour in those years: rights; duties (read as responsibilities); and community. It is worth noting that the theoretical clothing of New Labour’s Third Way philosophy was designed by Anthony Giddens (1994, 1998) who took his inspiration from the libertarianism of the USA and melded it with the ‘ethical socialism’ of New Labour (Prideaux 2001, p. 87). Indeed, to return to 1997, the year of New Labour’s election victory, we might notice that talk was in fact initially of ‘communitarianism’, rather than the ‘Third Way’. Indeed, Driver and Martell emphasise this contribution to the political philosophy of New Labour: ‘Communitarianism offers Labour modernizers a political vocabulary which eschews market individualism, but not capitalism; and which embraces collective action, but not class or the state’ (Driver and Martell 1997, p. 33). The communitarian dimension incorporates the concepts of moral obligation and stakeholding. It asserts individuals have certain (distinct) moral obligations to the community, such as a commitment to work, and maintains that individuals can hold a stake in social or economic enterprises. In this way, the individual could have a direct interest in the achievements of the society and company: ‘Essential to this line of thought was the belief that the selfish concerns of the individual had to be tempered with a collective responsibility’ (Prideaux 2001, p. 91). The mantra of the Third Way, rights and responsibilities , and the UK’s retooled welfare state emerged from these philosophical precepts (Sevenhuijsen 2000, p. 8). Indeed, Tony Blair asserted this point quite clearly: When I talk about rights and responsibilities, it’s not some idealistic, impractical idea. It’s real. It’s a genuine balance. And the New Deal is the best concrete example of it. (Speech on the New Deal, 30 November 2000)
Blair’s rights-responsibilities dualism was situated at the very heart of the Third Way canon. In the UK, the effects of the rights and responsibilities drive had been to redefine the terms of public-private engagement. By
way of example this principle played out in New Labour initiatives as (i) an education contract obliging students’ parents to keep to certain conditions of ensuring the education of their children; (ii) tenancy agreements that explicitly attached the good behaviour of tenants to their ongoing accommodation (Deakin 2000, p. 12). The linking of rights and responsibilities gave the New Deal its philosophical impetus, validating the actions of government officials through a justification of individual responsibility: The success of the New Deal has been based on a clear framework of rights and responsibilities. We have been extending this to all claimants, building a system that recognises the responsibilities people have to get themselves off benefits, while ensuring that society fulfils its obligations to those unable to help themselves. (A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering People to Work. Department for Work and Pensions)
In addition, with the fulfilment of societal obligation, so the logic went, the new communitarianism overcame the failures of, as Pierson and Castles note, ‘traditional’ social democracy: The decline in a sense of civic responsibility (matching rights with duties) is seen to have been one of the characteristic vices of ‘traditional’ social democracy…Responsibility does not mean though, as it is supposed it did for neo-liberals, either complete self-reliance or the kind of morally (and/or legally) charged obligation to work or support family that restricts the role of the state to that of charitable provider of last resort. (Pierson and Castles 2002, p. 681)
The concept of ‘responsibility’ is deployed widely as one of ‘duty’ (Kershaw 2005). One of the most striking characteristics of Third Way philosophy is the way in which it has been adapted and taken up, in various forms, across the world. Governments in Italy, Ireland, New Zealand and Germany have all invoked the terms and terminology of the Third Way since 1996: ‘Although the rise of duty discourse is evident across political traditions, the New Right has enjoyed the most political success in English speaking countries by re-emphasizing the language of social obligations’ (Kershaw 2005, p. 2). And this portability of the Third Way ideas was perhaps one of its main features. For example, there is little doubt that Australian policy-makers embraced the Third Way as eagerly as their Anglo-Saxon counterparts: ‘We didn’t call what we were doing
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the Third Way. For Australia, we saw it as the only way’ (Paul Keating 1999, cited in Pierson and Castles 2002, p. 683). The inbuilt capacity for adaptation/adoption that McLennan argues that Third Way ideas are ‘vehicular’: Vehicular ideas emerge as ways of problem-solving and ‘moving things on’. Anyone who wants to get from A to B, for whatever reason, can therefore usefully embrace certain sorts of ideas as ‘vehicles’ for doing so, whatever their other differences with fellow-travellers. (2004, p. 485)
The ‘vehicular’ notion implies a form of pragmatic, rather than ideological, thinking. Ideas in the Third Way canon are, thus, instrumental and ends-oriented. This is not a contentious insight. Indeed, much of the rhetoric invoked by politicians adhering to Third Way precepts acknowledged the instrumentalism of their approach. As such, Pierson and Castles argue that: Third way politicians are proudly pragmatic (‘what matters is what works’) and willing to draw experience (and policies) from a wide variety of sources, including their more neo-liberal predecessors. (Pierson and Castles 2002, p. 683)
Pierson and Castles observe that there is likely to be more than a hint of post hoc rationalisation at work here, justifying policy decisions based more in pragmatism than idealism (2002, p. 684). Yet the practical approach embedded in Third Way ideas represented a continuity with the era of New Public Management insofar as the managerial, technocratic instinct of NPM remained intact: ‘But perhaps the most obvious “Third Way” articulation of managerialism came in the commitment to “Evidence Based” policy and practice’ (Clarke 2004, p. 38; see also Davies et al. 2000). Duffy argues that the embrace of policy evaluation approaches, which are central to evidence-based policy-making , was facilitated by NPM and digitisation. The purpose of evaluation is, according to Duffy ‘to manage policy subjects and communicate information about their activities’ (2017, p. 36).
The US Pathway to Workfare It is not entirely clear that the Third Way was the forerunner of welfareto-work per se. As mentioned above, the dualism of rights and responsibilities emerged out of the welfare-to-work formulae. Certainly, albeit unsuccessfully, Clinton attempted to institute his own form of welfare reform in 1994. Yet, if the providence of the Third Way is ambiguous, the reforms to welfare policy in the USA were far clearer in their roots. Because of the latitude allowed to individual states in developing their own welfare policy, the USA has a rich pedigree in welfare policy experimentation. Here, a notable example which was eventually to provide the model of welfare provision emulated by the Federal US government, and farther afield, was provided by Wisconsin Works or, more commonly, W2. From 1987 onwards, Wisconsin gradually implemented a series of active labour market measures. Amongst these measures were a number that are now recognised as orthodox welfare-to-work policies: • time limits on receiving welfare benefits • welfare benefit payments only made to individuals actively seeking work • incentives made available to encourage counties (who are responsible for administering welfare rolls on a local level) to increase job placements. These were introduced with enhanced employment service provisions such as: • Employer-subsidies to increase job placements • Funding for job-related training • Job centres combining a number of employment agencies on the same site The apparent success of Wisconsin’s W2 programme piqued the interest of welfare policy experts around the world. It had influence when two Republican Governors used the experiences of Wisconsin and Michigan to popularise the welfare-to-work approach. As Ellwood, who was Clinton’s own inspiration for welfare reform, noted: ‘Republican Governors Tommy Thomson and John Engler got enormous political mileage out
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of welfare reform in two relatively liberal states, Wisconsin and Michigan, long before Clinton ran for President’ (Ellwood 1996).
The Political Picture The separation of powers in the USA threw up a common division of power during the 1990s. The Presidency was held by a Democrat, Bill Clinton, whilst Congress was held by the Republicans: This has led in part to a dualism in policy where Federally controlled programmes such as the Minimum Wage and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) have expanded while there has been a retrenchment in what the USA calls ‘Welfare’. (Evans 2001, p. 8)
The effect of this was not to cause legislative paralysis or stalemate/gridlock (though this is frequently the case), but rather to lead to a, purportedly successful, employment policy throughout this period; indeed, a policy that, since its inception, has overseen successive falls in unemployment with year-on-year increases in labour productivity. Yet, close examination of the unemployment legislation itself reveals an unexpected emphasis on the reduction of out-of-wedlock births: The Congress makes the following findings: (1) Marriage is the foundation of a successful society. (2) Marriage is an essential institution of a successful society which promotes the interests of children. (3) Promotion of responsible fatherhood and motherhood is integral to successful child rearing and the well-being of children. (4) In 1992, only 54 percent of single-parent families with children had a child support order established and, of that 54 percent, only about one-half received the full amount due. Of the cases enforced through the public child support enforcement system, only 18 percent of the caseload has a collection. (5) The number of individuals receiving aid to families with dependent children (in this section referred to as “AFDC”) has more than tripled since 1965. More than two-thirds of these recipients are children. Eightynine percent of children receiving AFDC benefits now live in homes in which no father is present…. (10) Therefore, in light of this demonstration of the crisis in our Nation, it is the sense of the Congress that prevention of out-of -wedlock
pregnancy and reduction in out-of -wedlock birth are very important Government interests and the policy contained in part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (as amended by Section 103(a) of this Act) is intended to address the crisis. (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act, 1996, preamble)
The opening text of the PRWORA legislation is illustrative of the key concern in the minds of its authors: the breakdown of the family unit and the attendant repercussions of this for American society. Whatever hidden interests there may have been in the promotion of the PRWORA legislation, its creators left no doubt as to the principle ostensible purpose, which was to reduce the number of American single mothers and, with it, the spiralling cost of welfare provision. To understand this specific targeting within PRWORA, we need to recognise that this period of reform was set against a backdrop of public antipathy to recipients of the cash welfare system: ‘which was widely perceived to discourage employment and to encourage non-traditional family structure and fertility choices’ (Looney 2005, p. 6). In 1965, a report by the Office of Policy Planning within the US Department of Labor had produced a report entitled The Negro Family: The case for national action. The report argued that the family unit in black communities had been undermined by high unemployment and welfare dependency amongst black men: In essence the report argued that the payment of AFDC solely to lone mothers created a financial incentive for the formation of one-parent families in a situation in which unemployment had stripped many black men of their traditional role as breadwinners. (Deacon 2000, p. 8)
The report, colloquially entitled the Moynihan Report after its author Senator Daniel Moynihan, endorsed a stereotypical view of welfare that endured through to the Reagan era. Reagan’s depiction of so-called Cadillac queens—back single mothers using welfare benefits to live comfortably at the expense of the tax-payer—gave legitimacy to concerns that ADFC was being abused by its recipients. The ensuing public outcry sealed the fate of ADFC system and compelled all parties to rethink welfare policy in the USA. Clinton’s promise to ‘end welfare as we know it’ was, then, born out of the fait accompli presented by Reagan’s Administration.
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The depictions of welfare recipients in the popular media fuelled public support for reform. Certainly, Reagan’s rhetoric about ‘Cadillac queens’ was powerful, but the most telling signs of the US unease with welfare dependency were displayed in the statistics: before the introduction of TANF, 90% of welfare claimants were single mothers (Daguerre and Taylor-Gooby 2004, p. 29) and there was a lifetime guarantee of welfare support, if and when it was needed. It is partly because of the reliance of single mothers on ADFC that this component of welfare, rather than any other form of social assistance, has become synonymous with ‘welfare’. As Clarke argues: ‘So, social security programmes, covering a much wider range of benefits and a much larger population at a much greater cost, are referenced separately – they are not welfare’ (Clarke 2004, p. 22). PRWORA drastically changed this landscape. It introduced the rule that, over a claimant’s lifespan, he or she must work after two years on assistance. In addition, families that had received assistance for five years (cumulative or not) were no longer entitled to assistance. Sets of punitive measures were introduced to deal with those seen to be unwilling to work. On top of this: ‘Each state […] implemented a different TANF plan with unique objectives, funding priorities, time limits, and client bases’ (Lichter and Jayakody 2002, p. 119). The terms of engagement with single mothers changed overnight. Between the introduction of PRWORA in August 1996 and June 2000, the number of TANF recipients fell from 12,241,000 to 5,781,000: a fall of 53% (figures taken from the US Department of Health and Human Services 2007). The groundswell of support for this putative antecedent of the UK’s New Deal and the USA’s PRWORA legislation was mostly from conservative Republicans: ‘[PRWORA] was a bill largely shaped by Republican governors, notably Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin and John Engler of Michigan’ (Blank and Ellwood 2001, p. 767). For Clinton, the authorisation of PRWORA was a matter of political expediency, insofar as it had become necessary to institute welfare reform of some sort. Clinton promised prior to his 1992 election victory to ‘end welfare as we know it’. David Ellwood, the intellectual inspiration behind Clinton’s welfare thinking, writes: ‘The president’s famous promise to “end welfare as we know it” was the most potent soundbite on welfare. It came up so often that we referred to it as EWAKI’ (Ellwood 1996). Despite the extensive research and design which went into the architecture of Clinton’s much-trailed welfare policy, the proposed 1994 Work and Responsibility Act (WRA) was eventually refused by a GOP-dominated
Congress. Consequently, as Blank and Ellwood (2001, p. 761) argue: ‘The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), passed and signed in the summer of 1996, was very different from Clinton’s original conception’. Clinton had twice rejected the proposed (Republican) legislation but, after the third revision, accepted the inevitable reality: that the guiding control over the new welfare legislation was to be Republican. Although PRWORA was subsequently seen to be an unqualified ‘success’, this success created an ethical tension for the Democrats: These results allowed both Congress and Clinton to gain political credibility, but have also further reduced the importance and legitimacy of the losers from welfare reform if they are not working and are no longer on welfare. (emphasis in original, Evans 2001, p. 9)
The ethical tension created by the new legislation was too much for Clinton’s two principal welfare advisors, Wendell Primus and Peter Edelman, who both subsequently resigned. In the next chapter, I shall use interviews with these two advisors to illuminate the ideational shifts which occurred during this period by Clinton.
State Programme Variability Prior to the introduction of PRWORA, the main system of benefits targeted towards needy families was AFDC: Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Under the PRWORA legislation, this system was comprehensively overhauled and replaced with TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, specifically targeting families rather than individuals without children: The only safety-net benefit available in all States is TANF for families with children, which is the centre of welfare reform. Otherwise, public assistance safety nets are the sole responsibility of the States – or even local County governments. These schemes, called General Assistance (GA), can provide cash or in-kind benefits, but only in 13 States are there such programmes for able-bodied people without children. (Evans 2001, p. 10)
Whilst the Federal legislation provides the block funding and basic eligibility rules, it is up to the States to set out the actual administration of
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the financial support: ‘The 1996 PRWORA entirely relegated responsibility for detailed policy formulation and service delivery to the states. They determine their own eligibility criteria for cash assistance within the general framework of loose federal guidelines’ (Daguerre 2004, p. 52). Inter alia, it is also within the remit of the States to decide: the length of time for which individuals are eligible for support (to the legislated maximum of five years); the size of the job-catchment radius within which individuals must accept employment; and the amount and length of jobrelated training. Moreover, funding incentives are provided to those States which are able to reduce their welfare rolls below target levels, resulting in punitively-oriented TANF provisions. Crucially, Blank and Schoen argue (NBER Working Papers with number 7627, 2000, p. 7): Since 1962, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has had the authority to waive federal welfare requirements if a state proposed experimental or pilot programs that furthered the goals of AFDC. Although there were a few waivers granted in the 1980s, it was not until the early to mid-1990s that major, state-wide waivers became widespread.
The initiatives undertaken through the federal waivers were varied, but commonly they were used to: increase the amount individuals could earn whilst staying eligible for cash assistance; widen the pool of people suitable for certain types of jobs; limit the amount of time individuals could remain on welfare rolls (Blank and Schoen 2001, p. 7); and ‘allowed states to eliminate benefit increases to families who conceived and gave birth to children while on welfare (the so-called ‘family cap’)’ (Blank and Schoen 2001, p. 7). Indeed, the vast number of variations between the state welfare systems make it very difficult to draw specific comparisons between the states: The August 1996 passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), replacing AFDC with the TANF block grant, further increased both the degree of variation across state programs and the difficulty of tracking program rules. (Rowe & Roberts, 2004, p. 2)
Whilst the efficacy of PRWORA was soon questioned by academic commentators (see Primus et al. 1999), it is clear that the prima facie result of PRWORA was a substantial fall in the number of welfare recipients from 1996 onwards. The key architects of PRWORA were clearly
motivated by the impact upon social cohesion that family breakdown was having and, accordingly, wanted to use the new welfare regime as a means of discouraging non-orthodox family units. By allowing individual states to take the lead in implementing their own tailored welfare programmes, the Federal Government effectively devolved the responsibility for delivering lower welfare rolls to the state-level. But, in so doing, they removed any form of minimum support for welfare recipients, resulting in huge national variations in living standards amongst welfare claimants. The Federal Government further put in place a set of financial incentives and supports to ensure the ongoing stability of TANF. The most ‘naked’ incentive proffered was a direct nod to the preamble of PRWORA: in 2007, an annual appropriation of 100 million dollars was assigned to the five states with the greatest reduction in ‘out of wedlock’ births and abortion rates, whilst $1 billion separately allocated for the best-performing states in reducing welfare caseloads (US Department of Health and Human Services 20071 ).
The UK and the New Deal The 1997 victory for New Labour ushered in an era in which the engagement between the left and right was redefined. The political ethos of the Third Way disregarded key tenets of social democracy; ownership mixed economy, social redistribution or social entitlement, and replaced them with questions of efficiency and effective government: Without the ontological and ethical commitments of orthodox Marxism or social democracy, or any reformulation of them, the critique of capitalism as such turned into a critique of the particular capitalism of Thatcherite neo-liberalism. It ceased being a political claim and became a managerial one about how to run things better. (Finlayson 1999, p. 274 emphases in original)
In so doing, New Labour forged a new path between the two entrenched positions of social democracy and conservativism. The consequences of this redefinition were apparent in the state-citizen contract: This agenda is distinct from the conservative Right in its support for welfare entitlements; but also distinct from the liberal Left in insisting that
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those entitlements must be conditional: welfare rights must be matched by welfare responsibilities. (Driver 2004, p. 35)
The New Deal represents a raft of policy initiatives instituted by New Labour designed to tackle some of the UK’s most pressing employment issues. Amongst these, unemployment amongst young people was seen as a priority, as was changing the culture of long-term welfare dependency. The previous Conservative Government had already recognised these problems and had taken the first tentative steps towards enacting active labour market measures capable of curbing the high rates of unemployment seen in the 1980s and early 90s. Perversely, according to Prideux, the changeover of power in 1997 entrenched some moves already taken by the Conservatives: ‘a deeper examination into the details that lay behind the New Deal proposals also reveals that these deals were merely continuations of previously tried schemes in authoritarian welfare’ (Prideaux 2001, p. 97). Layard et al. (2004) (Layard, incidentally, was an advisor to the creation of the New Deal) point out: But from 1986 onwards the work test began to be used again and the system tightened. In 1986 six-monthly work-focussed interviews (called Restart Interviews) began, and since 1990 benefit recipients have been formally expected to be “actively seeking work”. From 1990 onwards the benefit office and job centres were progressively reunited, and in 1996 the Job Seekers Allowance was introduced which allowed a personal adviser to issue directions to the job seeker. (Layard et al. 2004, p. 16)
The Restart interviews, the expectation that benefit recipients must be actively seeking work and the use of personal advisors were all facets that, in one guise or another, were incorporated in the New Deal. Yet, the inclusion of these facets might also be regarded as reflecting institutional continuities. Moreover, the retention of these features of the pre-1997 regime does not represent a concomitant commitment to the same welfare ethos. As Layard affirms: Thus the big new idea in Labour’s New Deal is this. We ought to offer everybody on the threshold of long-term unemployment a choice of activity for at least a period. And when that happens we should remove the option of life on benefit. (Layard 2001, p. 2)
Long before the institution of the New Deal’s welfare-to-work, the efficacy of state welfare provision was being called into question. The traditional goal of full employment through a Keynesian demandmanagement strategy and direct creation of employment had lost value in the face of nearly unprecedented levels of unemployment during Thatcher’s later years in office. Even before this however, there were indications that a paradigm shift in welfare provision was imminent. It was clear that Thatcher was uncomfortable with the amount spent funding a cumbersome and lethargic welfare system and, indeed, felt that welfare was partially to blame for some of the societal ills that it putatively remedied. In his book, ‘Dismantling the Welfare State?’ (1994) Paul Pierson highlights the attempts of both the conservative Thatcher and Reagan Administrations to: ‘cut back entitlements and weaken the political foundations of the welfare state’ (Starke 2006, p. 105). The guiding rationale of increasing employment echoed the Thatcher-Reagan economic-individualist philosophy: ‘The promotion of employment in the 1980s followed a distinctively neo-liberal route. Self-sufficiency through paid work was the single governing principle of welfare reform’ (Daguerre 2004, p. 44). These attempts in the UK failed because of two key pillars upon which the welfare state depended: institutional inertia, and the enduring popular support for the welfare system. But, whereas Conservative attempts at implementation (the processes by which welfare was delivered) reform failed, New Labour’s revamp of the welfare system succeeded through reform of the welfare contract as a whole. By 1996, the ‘rights and responsibilities’ mantra had percolated from Clinton’s third-way logics, through to Giddens’ social diagnosis of the UK—‘The Third Way’—into the party mindset of New Labour. Welfare-to-work had two prongs; emphasising both the responsibility of the unemployed to actively seek employment or engage in training leading to employment and their right to receive state support whilst doing so. The qualifying phrase ‘whilst doing so’ emphasised the new contingency of welfare: the unemployed are entitled to state support only whilst they demonstrate a willingness to participate in the labour market: This is a system of stick and “carrot”, based on mutual rights and responsibilities. Everyone has the right to [job] offers but in return they have the responsibility to use them – or at least to stop drawing benefits. Rights and responsibilities is a central philosophy of New Labour and of the New Deal. (Layard et al. 2004, p. 2)
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The insistence that individuals have an implied moral duty to ‘at least stop drawing benefits’ if they fail to take an offer of employment (of any sort) reflects the normative political philosophy of the New Deal’s Third Way. It is this form of rhetoric that captures the communitarian social contract extended by New Labour, and this form of message is not only promulgated through advisory pamphlets to job seekers. The Cabinet Office document, Personal Responsibility and Changing Behaviour: the state of knowledge and its implications for public policy, in clear echoes of the ‘personal responsibility’ stressed by PRWORA, states: It can be argued that welfare to work is effective because it employs a number of behavioural change techniques as well as an economic incentive: aversion to loss (in this case a modest financial benefit); psychological discount rates (giving extra emphasis to immediate consequences) and authority (of the advisor). In the hands of a skilful advisor, welfare to work can also play on reciprocity (society wants you, or even I want you, to make a contribution in return for support); social proof (many others have done this) and personal affiliation (on the basis of an ongoing relationship). (Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit 2004, p. 32)
This exhortation to reciprocate the moral values established by the state subordinates the status of the unemployed in a system of ‘mutual obligation’ or ‘reciprocity’. Moreover, this is not an artefact of the UK’s approach to welfare-to-work implementation. Goodin writes that the framing of mutual obligation in the USA and Australian models of workfare also materially and morally undermines welfare recipients: ‘In such circumstances of asymmetric resources, to insist upon strict and immediate reciprocity has the effect of reinforcing relations of social subordination’ (Goodin 2002, p. 592). In the report Personal Responsibility and Changing Behaviour (February 2004, Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit), the authors claim that the arrangement of rights and responsibilities varies according to political colour and, crucially, a ‘bagatelle’ of questions (see Fig. 5.1): The arrangement of rights and responsibilities within the New Deal however rendered the ‘bagatelle of questions’ redundant insofar as philosophical commitments had already been made. Essentially, the use of welfare-to-work in the UK was a form of evidence-based policy-making:
Rights and Responsibilities emerge from a complex and iterative ‘bagatelle’ of questions What kinds of fundamental rights do people have? What rights/responsibilities does our notion of the ‘good society’ suggest as important? Who, or what, is causally responsible? Who, or what, is best placed to act? What is the most effective means or mechanisms for expressing the obligation? What are the wider consequences for others, and do these conflict with their rights and responsibilities? (start again…)
Adapted from Personal Responsibility and Changing Behaviour: the state of knowledge and its implications for public policy, 2004.
Fig. 5.1 The bagatelle of questions
Welfare to Work, usually referred to as the New Deal, represents the first real attempt to implement activation policies for the unemployed in Britain. The reforms involve a radical paradigm shift since they are based on a typically American “workfare” approach. (Daguerre 2004, pp. 41–42)
In July 1997, an employer-led working group, ‘The New Deal Task Force2 ’, headed by Sir Peter Davies, was given the responsibility for overseeing the rollout of the New Deal: ‘to solicit employer input on program design and to encourage private voluntary participation’ (Martin 2004, p. 55).The creation of the group underlined the intention of the government to make the New Deal as amenable to the needs of the business sector as possible. The development of the New Deal for Young People was a manifesto commitment of New Labour in 1997. Specifically, they pledged to move 250,000 jobless young people into employment in the lifetime of the Government. Introduced in January 1998 in 12 Pathfinder areas, it was gradually unrolled across the UK. The employment service was at the helm of its implementation and took advantage of the UK’s extensive
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network of local delivery agents, including, amongst others, local authorities, voluntary and charitable organisations, Local Enterprise Companies and TECs. Because the New Labour Administration had recently implemented the ‘windfall’ levy, financial resources were quickly in place for the NDYP scheme and ensured continuity of financing throughout the crucial initial year. This was the overwhelming emphasis of welfare-towork in 1997 and remains so today. The key target for the New Deal, since its inception, was to place job seekers in employment at the earliest opportunity. Often, this placement occurred at the expense of advanced education or training and aims to reduce the length of time spent on benefits. This approach, importantly, eschewed the principals of European social models (such as Sweden, for example) that place greater emphasis on long-term training. In this regard, then, the UK approach was very similar to the USA: Like most welfare reformers in the USA, the Labour Government in Britain appears to be putting work, rather than education and training, first in its welfare-to-work programme. But putting ‘work first’ has no inherent interest in outcomes other than to increase work levels among those on welfare. (Driver 2004, p. 33)
Most fundamentally, Deacon argues (2000, p. 13): ‘the British approach follows the American in its redefinition of welfare as a period of temporary assistance during which claimants would be re-equipped with the skills and capacities to re-enter the labour force, and then required to do so’.
Components of the New Deal The lion’s share of funding for the New Deal was allocated to the New Deal for Young People. Up to 2002, the New Deal for the Disabled received £200 million, the New Deal for Lone Parents £200 million, the New Deal for the Long-Term Unemployed £350 million, whereas the New Deal for Young People received £3.15 billion (Beaudry 2002, p. 9). In this period, this group made up just 9% of welfare claimants, yet received 77% of the funding. The NDYP (targeted at those aged 18–25 unemployed for six months or more) introduced a mandatory requirement to participate in one of four programmes: 1. The Environmental Task Force
2. Voluntary Work 3. Full-time education, training or apprenticeship for up to one year. 4. A subsidised work placement, in which the government contribute £60 per week to the earnings of the young person, giving employers the incentive to engage a worker for a considerably lower salary outlay. Crucially, young people were not allowed any form of ‘opt-out’; their choice was to participate in the above programmes, or not receive benefit. However, following the USA in applying such time limits to single mothers was not considered to be politically prudent in the UK. As Daguerre and Taylor-Gooby argue: However, only certain elements of American policies were chosen in the process of transplanting welfare to work programmes. For instance, if the NDYP imposed time limits on benefit entitlement, such time limits were seen as unacceptable for lone parents. (Daguerre and Taylor-Gooby 2004, p. 31)
The New Deal for Lone Parents targeted parents with a child above the age of 5 ¼. On the NDLP, parents were given advice and support in finding appropriate employment and offered, in some circumstances, finance for training and childcare. Initially, engagement with the NDLP was voluntary, but after April 2002 an annual work-focused interview became a mandatory requirement for all lone parents claiming welfare payments (Daguerre 2004, p. 31). As explained above, no time limits were imposed on lone parents claiming welfare payments. Nevertheless, the feature of sanctions represented the most crucial to the shift in UK welfare values: The use of benefit sanctions in cases of non-compliance with programmes’ requirements for young people was the most controversial aspect of the New Deal and was strongly inspired by the new sanction regime implemented by TANF in the US. (Daguerre and Taylor-Gooby 2004, p. 31)
It is this pedigree of welfare-to-work that captured the attention of welfare scholars in the UK and has provoked a plethora of articles, monographs and research studies into the adoption of the US system of welfare.
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Inevitably, demographic, economic and political comparisons are invoked in the assessment of whether the US system is suitable for the British policy portfolio. What is more, the relationship between US and UK advisors is an enduring one. Most strikingly, there is an exchange scheme for UK and US welfare policy the proximity of UK and US welfare officials: The purpose of the exchange, initially discussed during a meeting in May 2003 between US Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and the UK Secretary of State for Work and Pensions at the time, Andrew Smith, was to take advantage of opportunities to share best practices in tackling problems of unemployment. The exchange of ideas and experiences is important at the international policy level to address the ever-increasing challenge of assisting unemployed individuals in their return to work. (2004 US/UK Workforce Program Educational Exchange, 2004. Employment and Training Administration, USA)
The close working relationship enjoyed by US/UK policy officials is similar to that between UK and Australian civil servants: the Department of Workplace Relations in Australia has a reciprocal agreement with the UK to exchange labour market officials on a secondment basis. Indeed, the parallels and linkages between Australian and UK labour market policy are numerous and are based in their similar configuration of rights and responsibilities.
Australia’s Welfare Engagement: From ‘Reciprocal’ to ‘Mutual’ Obligation Confronting the reality of unemployment means providing a social net to ease the hardship. It also means providing all the training opportunities we can. But above all else it means we must create more growth. (Prime Minister Keating 1993, p. 8, cited in Edwards 2001)
The mid-1990s saw a sea-change in the welfare ethos of Australia that paralleled that of the USA and UK. Whereas previously the unique wagebargaining and residual welfare state combination had been a robust feature of Australian social policy, this changed with the reconfiguration of the relationship between the state and the unemployed during the Keating Administration. This change is particularly apparent in the enactment of the Mutual Obligation Initiative in 1998 (under John Howard), but the
initial changes, as in the USA and the UK, began much earlier. Indeed, the roots of Mutual Obligation can be seen in Keating’s 1994 legislation: Working Nation. This section will briefly explore both Working Nation and Mutual Obligation. The structure and conditions of welfare provision in Australia had previously been fundamentally different to the approaches of other Western governments. As a result of the insights of its constitutional ‘Founding Fathers’, Australian welfare provision rested on two pillars: the provision of ‘welfare by other means’ and a residual welfare state.3 To briefly address these in turn. First, ‘welfare by other means’ is the descriptive moniker that Castles attaches to Australia’s unique constitutional arrangement. To wit, the Founding Fathers of the Australian Constitution provided for a system of compulsory conciliation and arbitration in industrial disputes. This gave the courts the power to establish wage levels, so that all industrial workers were, in a real sense, paid a living wage. Compulsory conciliation and arbitration: ‘meant that those who were waged were able to maintain a decent life for themselves and their dependants without further intervention by the state’ (Castles 2001, p. 7). With one of the lowest expenditures on welfare within the OECD membership, the post-war Australia welfare system looked impotent. However, the nature of the wage-bargaining system provided the ‘welfare by other means’ to which Castles refers. In strengthening the tie between employers and workers, the increased equitable distribution of wages counter-balanced the relative stinginess of the residual welfare system: ‘The lack of generosity of welfare payments has been substantially compensated for by a system of wages regulation which has prevented waged poverty and delivered a reduced dispersion of incomes’ (Castles 2001, p. 3). The result of this was to create: ‘a model of the welfare state quite unlike those of Western Europe and North America’ (Castles 1996, p. 88). By the early 1990s however, both these pillars of welfare had been considerably weakened. Prime Minister Keating had systematically reconfigured the awards system through increased deregulation and restrictions on the power of federal arbitration tribunals (Castles 2001). The 1993 Federal Election provided the stage for an onslaught of criticism by opposition parties dissatisfied with the Government’s lacklustre economic and employment record (Edwards 2001, p. 138). By 1994, the Government had distilled a new policy approach to welfare from extensive discussions
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with academics, the ALP and the public service: Working Nation was to provide the roadmap to employment recovery, with special emphasis on, but not limited to, the long-term unemployed. Working Nation instituted a series of programmes for the unemployed. Amongst these were: • The provision of advisors to render tailored, targeted advice to individual job seekers to direct them towards the most appropriate employment opportunities based on their skills and experience. • Early interventions with those deemed most at risk of becoming long-term unemployed (the LTU). • The ‘Job Compact’: Subsidised work placements to enable the LTU to gain work experience (of at least six months) to make them more employable. Parker and Fopp (2004, pp. 258–259). Importantly, punitive measures were also introduced both to increase the efficacy of the new programme and, crucially, to assuage community concerns that the welfare system was being abused by the unemployed. Amongst these measures were penalties for failing the ‘activities test’ (a demonstration of ongoing commitment to looking for a job), or for refusing the offer of employment, with varying consequences. Clearly, both the ‘carrot’ and ‘stick’ components of the Working Nation initiative mirrored the orthodoxy of welfare-to-work provisions in the USA and the UK. However, the lifespan of Working Nation was limited. Introduced in May 1994, by March 1996 it had been abandoned after John Howard was elected into office. Its replacement, the Mutual Obligation Initiative, emulated Working Nation in one crucial way: This program was based on the concept of Mutual Obligation (Keating’s “reciprocal obligation” under a new guise) where the unemployed had to (in return for social security benefits) demonstrate their mutual obligation to society by accepting training, voluntary work, or WFD [Work for the Dole]. (Junankar 2000, p. 18)
The shift from ‘reciprocal’ to ‘mutual’ obligation was a clear indication of the Howard Government’s intention to continue the ethos of Working Nation. The Workplace Relations Act (1997) instituted the creation of a network of programmes to foster the labour market, including Centrelink
(the main gateway of re-employment), the Job Network and Work for the Dole. The Government’s principle of mutual obligation is based on a simple proposition: that unemployed job seekers, supported financially by the community, should actively seek work, constantly strive to improve their competitiveness in the labour market and give something back to the community that supports them. (David Kemp, Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs)
The introduction of the Mutual Obligation Initiative (MOI) by the Federal Liberal-National coalition Government (headed by John Howard) saw the already limited gap between the Australian welfare ethos and that of the USA and UK narrow even further. The link between rights and responsibilities and mutual obligation is apparent, and is made clearer by the distinct ‘conditionality’ it invokes. At its most fundamental level, the MOI is: ‘absolutely characteristic of exchange relations in the labour market’ (Goodin 2002, p. 583). It provides a contractual-style relationship whereby payments made to the claimant are expressly conditional on their participation in specific labour programmes. It achieves this through the central plank of the MOI: the Job Compact, which ‘aimed to offer any person who had been on unemployment allowances for over 18 months a job, typically full-time and in the private sector, for at least twelve months’ (Junankar 2000, p. 16). The MOI was targeted at long-term recipients of welfare assistance and required them: ‘to spend a prescribed amount of time (the precise amount depends on which activity is chosen) in certain specified forms of paid, unpaid, caring labour or working at educational, military or conservationist tasks (Goodin 2002, p. 582). One of the key MOI measures is Work for the Dole (WfD). Mainly a work experience measure, the WfD is used to provide those who are new and inexperienced in the job market (i.e. school leavers), and those out of work for a long time (the LTU), with opportunities to participate in work-related activities: WfD involves local communities in activities that provide work experience for the unemployed, designed to help the unemployed re-attach to the labour market. WfD is also designed to provide communities with quality projects/activities, which are of value to those communities. (Yeend 2000; Australian Parliamentary Library)
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The ideas of MOI directly echo the communitarian logics invoked by both Clinton and Blair in their exhortations of the Third Way philosophy. The notion of ‘community’ is elided with the labour market, emphasising the link between the cost and benefits of welfare. The link between the Australian system of welfare provision and that of the UK and the USA was not found at the programme level during this era. Although there were similar instruments found in the UK and USA, these predominantly naturally grew out of a philosophical position on rights and responsibilities. Certainly, Australian policy-makers, as we shall see, gleaned some information on implementing active labour market policies from the UK and USA, yet the crucial linkage lies in the adoption of Third Way precepts.
Conclusion The ideological heritage and intellectual development of the ‘Anglo’ model of welfare-to-work reveals the commensurate political commitment to the precepts of the Third Way across Australia, the UK and USA during the 1990s. As explored in the previous chapter, the administrative structures of these countries and others in the Anglosphere had already been refurbished with managerial techniques, measurement of outcomes and market-based solutions under the rubric of New Public Management. Market-based solutions, along with a commitment to evaluating programme performance, invigorated the new ALMP approach advocated by Third Way advocates and the resulting welfare policies in PRWORA, the New Deal and Mutual obligation. It is, on one level, surprising that the US welfare approach commanded so much attention: The legislative ambitions of the Clinton Administration were routed by a Republican-dominated Congress and so the USA was left with a far more morally-charged and punitive piece of welfare legislation than the reforming Democrats ever envisaged. That such conservative legislation, the main target of which was lone parents, should be attractive to UK and Australian policy-makers (for whom long-term unemployed were the greater challenge) is a puzzle. What becomes apparent, as the next chapter elaborates, is that the political philosophy of the Third Way paired with administrative reforms primed the context of mutual policy learning between these states.
Notes 1. These funding rules were taken from the website of the Department of Health and Human Services, 1 July 2007. The specific webpage outlining these rules can be found at: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/abbrev/prwora96. htm. 2. Originating out of the Department for Education and Employment, it was subsequently renamed the ‘National Employment Panel’ in 2001. 3. For the sake of clarity, the ‘residual welfare state’ is taken to mean a catchall system of welfare that provides a minimum subsistence to those with no other means of support (financial or otherwise). More figuratively, it is the state-provided safety-net.
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Davies, H., Nutley, S., & Smith, P. (2000). Introducing evidence-based policy and practice in public services. In What works? Evidence-based policy and practice in public services (pp. 1–11). Bristol: Policy press. De Koning, J., Layard, R., Nickell, S., & Westergaard-Nielsen, N. (2004). Policies for full employment. HMSO, London, UK. Deacon, A. (2000). Learning from the US? The influence of American ideas upon ‘new labour’ thinking on welfare reform. Policy & Politics, 28(1), 5–18. Deakin, N. (2000). New initiatives along the Third Way: Testing the parameters of partnership. In Third Way, third sector. London: Centre for Civil Society, London School of Economics. Driver, S. (2004). North Atlantic drift: Welfare reform and the ‘Third Way’ politics of New Labour and the new democrats. In L. Martell, W. Leggett, & S. Hale (Eds.), The Third Way and beyond: Criticisms, futures and alternatives. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Driver, S., & Martell, L. (1997). New Labour’s communitarianisms. Critical Social Policy, 17 (52), 27–46. Duffy, D. N. (2017). Evaluation and governing in the 21st century: Disciplinary measures, transformative possibilities. London: Springer. Edwards, M. (2001). Social policy, public policy: From problems to practice. New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. Ellwood, D. T. (1996). Welfare reform as I knew it: When bad things happen to good policies. American Prospect, 26, 22–29. Evans, M. (2001). Welfare to work and the organisation of opportunity: Lessons from abroad. Ferguson, I., Lavalette, M. & Mooney, G. (2002). ‘Apocalypse now’: Globalisation, welfare and the state. In Rethinking welfare: A critical perspective (pp. 132–150). London: SAGE. https://doi.org/10.4135/978144621932 4.n8 Finlayson, A. (1999). Third Way theory. The Political Quarterly, 70(3), 271–279. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-923x.00229. Giddens, A. (1994). Beyond left and right: The future of radical politics. Cambridge: Polity Press. Giddens, A. (1998). The third way. Cambridge: Polity Press. Goodin, R. E. (2002). Structures of mutual obligation. Journal of Social Policy, 31, 579. https://doi.org/10.1017/S004727940200675x. Junankar, P. N. (2000). The new world of Australian labour market programs: An evaluation of the Howard-Reith labour market reforms. The Drawing Board: An Australian Review of Public Affairs, 1(1), 15–27. Kershaw, P. W. (2005). Carefair: Rethinking the responsibilities and rights of citizenship. Columbia: University of British Columbia Press. Layard, R. (2001). Welfare to work and the new deal. London: Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political.
Layard, R., de Koning, J., Nickell, S., & Westergaard-Nielsen, N. (2004). Policies for full employment. London: HMSO. Lichter, D. T., & Jayakody, R. (2002). Welfare reform: How do we measure success? Annual Review of Sociology, 28(1), 117–141. Looney, A. (2005). The effects of welfare reform and related policies on single mothers’ welfare use and employment. Martin, C. J. (2004). Reinventing welfare regimes employers and the implementation of active social policy. World Politics, 57 (1), 39. https://doi.org/10. 1353/wp.2005.0012. McLennan, G. (2004). Travelling with vehicular ideas: The case of the Third Way. Economy and Society, 33(4), 484–499. https://doi.org/10.1080/030 8514042000285251. OECD. (2001). Labour market policies that work. OECD Observer, OECD, Paris. Parker, S., & Fopp, R. (2004). The mutual obligation policy in Australia: The rhetoric and reasoning of recent social security policy. Contemporary Politics, 10(3–4), 257–269. Pierson, C., & Castles, F. G. (2002). Australian antecedents of the Third Way. Political Studies, 50(4), 683–702. https://doi.org/10.1111/14679248.00002. Prideaux, S. (2001). New labour, old functionalism: The underlying contradictions of welfare reform in the US and the UK. Social Policy & Administration, 35(1), 85–115. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9515.00221. Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. (2004). Personal responsibility and changing behaviour: The state of knowledge and its implications for public policy. London: Cabinet Office. Primus, W., Rawlings, L., Larin, K., & Porter, K. (1999). The initial impacts of welfare reform on the incomes of single-mother families. Washington: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Rowe, G., & Roberts, T. (2004). The Welfare rules databook: State policies as of July 2000. Washington: The Urban Institute. Rueda, D. (2006). Social democracy and active labour-market policies: Insiders, outsiders and the politics of employment promotion. British Journal of Political Science, 36, 385–406. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123406000214. Scharpf, F. W., & Schmidt, V. A. (2000). Welfare and work in the open economy: Volume I: From vulnerability to competitiveness in comparative perspective (Vol. 1). Oxford University Press: Oxford. Sevenhuijsen, S. (2000). Caring in the Third Way: The relation between obligation, responsibility and care in Third Way discourse. Critical Social Policy, 20(1), 5–37.
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Starke, P. (2006). The politics of welfare state retrenchment: A literature review. Social Policy & Administration, 40(1), 104–120. https://doi.org/10.1111/ j.1467-9515.2006.00479.x. White, S. (1998). Interpreting the Third Way: Not one road but many. Renewal, 6(2), 17–30. Yeend, P. (2000). Mutual obligation: Work for the dole. Canberra: Department of the Parliamentary Library.
Agents of Transgovernmental Policy Transfer
Whereas the previous chapter sets out the ideological terrain of the Third Way, here I turn to the agents most closely concerned within the policy learning process. This chapter sets out the empirical findings of primary research taken from interviews and documents in the USA, the UK and Australia. In looking, firstly, at the US research, we explore how the common conception that a policy transfer link is embedded in the relationship between Blair and Clinton is not easily sustainable. Rather, I argue that the use of US welfare-to-work policy was predicated upon the superiority of the US regime of experimentation and evaluation: the use of evaluations is seen to be the most crucial element adopted by the UK and showcased in the New Deal. Subsequently, I show how the qualitatively different relationship between the UK and Australia was nevertheless founded upon a mutual regard for evidence-based policy. My interviews support claims that the UK-Australia relationship is culturally and historically based, yet also show how this relationship is politically contingent: indeed, the research indicates that the 1989 JET programme (Jobs, Education, Training for Sole Parents) in Australia was, in fact, heavily drawn from US policy. Finally, the chapter turns the beginning of systemised, networked, policy transfer network between Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, the USA and Canada. The insights of one
© The Author(s) 2021 T. Legrand, The Architecture of Policy Transfer, Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55821-5_6
situated official reveal how this pioneering informal but elite network, emerging in the late 1980s/early 1990s, began to share policy ideas and experiences.
Interviewing Elites The usefulness of a ‘positioned’ emergent model, such as that presented in chapters 4 and 5, must be found in its applicability to the empirical case. Whereas the previous chapter served to contextualise the landscape of welfare-to-work, this chapter looks to report and analyse empirical data from interviews. This research is based upon a qualitative methodology and is driven by data from semi-structured interviewing and an analysis of policy documents and related governmental publications. Specifically, I draw upon findings taken from 40 interviews with elite policy-makers in the UK, USA and Australia between 2004 and 2010. These are supplemented by interviews taken from a repository of interview data made available by a Leverhulme project in 1999. This is the first study of policy transfer in the Anglosphere to utilise interview data from interviews with policy-makers at the very highest level of policy-making in these countries—with six (former or current) departmental CEOs included. These policy-makers come from the institutions most involved with the development of labour market policy and, specifically, welfare-to-work. Inter alia, these policy-makers are, or have been, senior officials in: The United States Senate; The United States House of Representatives (House Ways and Means Committee); The United States White House staff; The United Kingdom Treasury; The United Kingdom Department for Education and Employment; The Australian Department of Employment and Workplace Relations; The Australian Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet; The Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade.1 As with any study however, there must be an a priori starting point. To summarise my theoretical position developed to this point: i. Understanding policy transfer is crucial to explanations of contemporary policy-making. The increased willingness of policy-makers to mimic the actions of policy-makers elsewhere indicates a change in the traditional policy-making paradigm: this has implications for the integrity of the modern political process. ii. I have argued that existing theories of policy transfer (viz. Marsh and Dolowitz, Evans and Davies) offer only limited explanations of
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‘policy transfer’; are focused on process rather than ‘position’; and offer inadequate explanations of the relationship between structures and agents in instances of policy transfer. iii. I contend that adopting a critical realist approach confers the following analytical advantages: it emphasises the importance of structures and the independence of agency, yet gives considerable room for theoretical exploration of the relationship between the two. In the material sense, these theoretical precepts play out in the following ways. Using welfare-to-work policy as empirical vehicle to address my abstract interests: i. I look to see how transnational flows (or constitutive signifiers) affects the way policy is made; ii. I pick out common ideational and ideological approaches between policy-makers in the studied countries; iii. I examine how their perceptions of overseas policy influence how they approach policy-making; iv. I interrogate the significance of cultural similarity; and v. I try to identify motivating factors for any use of policy from overseas. From the above starting points, my study uncovers the, often obscured, informal as well as formal processes of policy-making. I verify what others have found to be important parts of policy transfer, but, most importantly, I establish two, as yet unidentified, drivers of policy transfer: (i) the increased commitment to evidence-based policy-making, and (ii) the existence of an elite transgovernmental network of policy-makers.
Learning About Welfare In the context of this research, the case of welfare-to-work stands out as an appropriate vehicle of analysis for two reasons. Firstly, it is perhaps the most studied example of policy transfer. The recognition of policy transfer analysis as a potentially fruitful explanatory approach coincided with the
election in 1997 of a New Labour government in the UK with strong ideological and stylistic links with the US Democratic Party. The subsequent deployment of policy-makers to study new techniques of welfare administration in the USA directly preceded the launch of one of New Labour’s flagship policies: The New Deal. Consequently, the policy transfer of US-style welfare-to-work was immediately subjected to scrutiny by policy transfer analysts. Secondly, welfare-to-work provides an ideal empirical study because labour market policies are directly linked to narratives on the policy impact of globalisation and the influences of international institutions: There has been a consensus among a number of international bodies, including the International Monetary Fund and, less overtly, the OECD, that the adoption of ‘flexible’ US-style labour market institutions would be the cure of unemployment in Europe. (Banks et al. 2005, p. 69)
As it is, the transfer of policies and programmes from the USA to the UK has already been extensively studied. The modelling of the New Deal on US ‘workfare’ systems has provoked a cottage industry investigating the process, the agents, the possible outcomes, efficacy evaluations, demographic comparisons and more. The general tenor of this literature is that the social and economic ambitions of successive US-UK administrations (strengthened by Reagan-Thatcher and consolidated by Clinton-Blair) have borne close resemblance and the New Deal is an extension of the ideological proximity of the two governments and their policy-makers. Driver offers this summary: There are two basic positions on what New Labour has learnt from the USA. The first is that New Labour has gone all New Democrat, that Blair and Brown are following in the footsteps of Clinton, especially the early Clinton, and marking out a new progressive agenda on welfare based on ‘tough love’… The second position is that New Labour has simply gone all New Right, that Blair and Brown have caved in to the Right’s welfare agenda, just as Clinton did in the USA, and that all talk of a welfare ‘Third Way’ is so much hot air: the Anglo-American consensus is really a neo-liberal consensus. (Driver 2004, p. 34)
In the following chapter, I wish to develop a third position: that what the UK has borrowed from the USA, and Australia, comes from a
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endemic concern to base policy-making upon rigorous—read ‘quantitative’—empirical evidence on policy outcomes: the ‘what works’ approach. So, whereas the previous chapter showed philosophical link between the Third Way and welfare-to-work, in this section I want to problematise that link and argue that, for the USA, Clinton’s Third Way (normative) philosophy was unrelated to the rise of welfare-to-work. This assertion has the following implications. It weakens the position of those who claim that ‘workfare’ is a corollary of the Third Way (including its proponents) and it indicates that the motivations behind adopting welfare policy instruments from America are located elsewhere. With the vast choice of viewpoints, data sources, arguments and historical assessments available to the analyst of welfare policy transfer, the issue of measurement hangs uneasily. The level or the extent of the ‘transfer’ of welfare-to-work from the USA to the UK is indeterminable in a quantitative sense; even in a qualitative sense there is no agreement on what constitutes ‘partial’, or, perhaps programmatic, transfer or, indeed, what the importance of this might be. In the following section, I wish to corroborate the claim that one important driver of policy transfer is the commitment to evidence-based policy-making . Subsequently, I want to show that my approach is useful because it takes the role of ideas (and their contingent nature) more seriously than other analyses.
Welfare-to-Wedlock: The Moral Crosshairs of the PRWORA The link between Blair and Clinton has been well-established. Bill Clinton’s electoral success in 1992 was seen by many in the Labour leadership as an object lesson in election strategy. His management of press releases, use of focus groups to determine the priorities of target demographic population and refashioning of the (New) Democrats turned the previously lacklustre second party into the dominant political force in the USA. It is similarly well-established that Brown, Blair and the cadre of political advisers in Labour Party circles drew much of their inspiration for their refurbishment of ‘old’ Labour into ‘New’ Labour from the experiences of the US Democrats. The rhetoric employed by New Labour on crime and welfare bore particular similarity to that of the Democrats; moving away from the traditional left ‘soft’ stance towards the ‘harder’ conservative arguments. The movement towards the use of coercion in
welfare provision is claimed to be a particular example of this development. In support of this, King and Wickham-Jones point to the influence of Laurence Mead, an academic whose work: ‘suggested not only that there were electoral benefits to workfare-type arrangements, but that such schemes were an important means of cutting unemployment’ (King and Wickham-Jones 1999, p. 65).2 They go on to argue that, after a failure in the attempt to introduce his much-lauded health reform plan, Clinton embarked on a: ‘more coherent programme which was reflected in his approach to welfare’ (1999, p. 65). King and Wickham-Jones describe the passage of the welfare legislation thus: Compulsion was emphasised, particularly to induce single mothers back into the labour market. Under welfare reforms in 1996 (the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act), single mothers must accept job offers or lose benefits. Signing the law, President Clinton declared ‘today we are ending welfare as we know it’. (1999, p. 65)
The perception that Clinton was responsible for the construction of the PRWORA and its introduction of coercion to welfare is integral to the claim that ‘Labour’s enthusiastic espousal of such a tough position emulates the Democrats’ experience in the United States’ (1999, p. 73). This is a claim that I wish to briefly interrogate, given that it is central to the case ‘for’ policy transfer. Clinton’s electoral promise to ‘end welfare as we know it’ was, as noted previously, so oft-repeated that party staffers began to refer to it as EWAKI. The powerful rhetoric carried with it, however, a danger: The Clinton campaign’s bold pledge also posed a risk that the administration might not be able to keep the promise it had made…Once in office the administration was almost certain to confront a classic case of overselling. (Weaver 2000, p. 224)
The legislation that Clinton had wanted to introduce (The Work and Responsibility Act) in 1994 failed to get passed by Congress in 1994—the year before the Republicans made sweeping House gains in the mid-term elections, effectively sealing its fate. However, his reforms were by no means supported by all Democrats. His attempts to introduce time limits on ADFC claimants, for instance, were hugely divisive. Weaver writes: ‘Interestingly, Democratic members in the House, especially those on the
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Ways and Means Committee, were crucial in killing welfare reform once the package was released’ (Weaver 2000, p. 247). By the time of the 104th Congress, the legislative future on welfare was still in the balance. Clinton’s failure to introduce the flagship policy of his 1992 election campaign, ‘to end welfare as we know it’, strengthened the position of the Republican Party. Clinton had already signalled his determination to reform welfare, yet did not have the political power in the House to carry through reforms of his own design. Consequently, the House Republicans were able to set out legislation that sat more easily with their own conservative values. Indeed, in 1994, House Republicans introduced their own bill, H.R. 3500, which proved to be the forerunner of the PRWORA. As a member of House Ways and Means Committee commented: ‘We developed a bill - HR3500 -and virtually every House Republican signed onto that bill. And it had a lot of features that the ’96 welfare reform bill had’. (Author’s interview, Washington DC, July 2005) Clinton’s aspirations for welfare were lost in 1994 and, in the event, control of the architecture of welfare was surrendered to the Republicans and their subsequent introduction of PRWORA in 1996. There is almost unanimous consensus that Clinton missed the most opportune moment to realise his aims for welfare: If President Clinton had pushed for welfare reform rather than health care reform in 1994, we would now be talking about a great Democratic realignment, rather than a great Republican realignment. (Mickey Kaus 1994 [“They Blew It”, New Republic, December 5 1994], cited in Weaver 2000, p. 249, see also Ellwood 1996)
It is difficult, therefore, to reconcile the claim that New Labour borrowed directly from Clinton when, clearly, PRWORA was a creation of neither Clinton, nor the Democrats. Though Clinton signed the Bill in 1996 and, in so doing, declared ‘Today we are ending welfare as we know it’, it was not because it was the legislation that he had envisaged. Why, then, did Clinton endorse the legislation? A senior welfare advisor to Clinton in 1994 claims: Because he was playing his politics with a belt and suspenders and extra zippers all at the same time: he was playing his politics with an excessive, vastly excessive, degree of caution. Three of his political advisors - Leon Panetta, George Stephanopolous and Harold Ickes - all advised him to
veto the legislation and that he would still be reelected even if he vetoed it. That’s important. (Author’s interview with Former Senior White House Official Washington DC, July 2005)
This political miscalculation, although it was not to prove costly to Clinton in the long-term,3 undermined the political praxis that he had set out in his vision of the Third Way. Coming on the heels of the failure of his health reform proposals, the vision that Clinton had sought to instigate was a very different one to that which he realised. For another of Clinton’s senior advisors, it was a matter of priorities that was ultimately the cause of Clinton’s failure to reform welfare in line with his vision: The Clinton Administration put most of its political muscle behind their health reform not their welfare reform, and I think in retrospect that was a huge mistake. (Author’s interview with Former Senior White House Official, Washington DC, July 2005)
Thus, the format, the structure, the ideas and the norms of the PRWORA were conservative-conceived and conservative-delivered. It is incidental that the tenor of PRWORA resonated comfortably with the rhetoric of Clinton’s Third Way.4 Nevertheless, this has not prevented the PRWORA being commonly associated with both Clinton and his political philosophy, when, in fact, very different arguments were at the heart of the Republican Bills in 1994 and 1996. For example, one of the senior Republican staff members observed: There was one big problem, and that was that a lot of conservatives, inside and outside congress, were saying work was not the most important thing. Illegitimacy was the most important thing. And we had a huge, ugly fight behind the scenes. (Author’s interview, Washington DC, August 2005)
As noted in the previous chapter, the conservative influence on the PRWORA is plain to see in the opening line of the legislation: ‘marriage is the foundation of a successful society’. The fact that the Republican’s HR3500 was far more costly than Clinton’s Work and Responsibility Act underscores the moral commitment that the conservatives were making. For the Republicans, the primary function of the PRWORA was clear: The heart of it is that you’ve got to really constrain those young mothers. You have to really put them in a situation where they are going to lose
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their benefits if they don’t do the right thing. You’ve got to do that. I think that’s even more important that the time limits. The time limit sends a wonderful message. (Author’s interview with Former Senior Welfare Adviser to President George W. Bush, Washington DC, August, 2005)
It is this primary intention that has been somewhat lost in the hubris that surrounded Blair’s relationship with Clinton. Importantly for policy transfer analysis, it is crucial that the putative use of the US welfare policy framework was predicated upon very different intentions. For US policymakers, welfare policy was an instrument used to discourage illegitimacy and encourage marriage. In this sense, the PRWORA might better be described as welfare-to-wedlock. In the light of this, the claim that the New Deal was based upon the ideological project of Clinton is clearly flawed. This point has two significant implications and begs one important questions. Firstly, we may dismiss the argument that there was a Third Way philosophical pretext underpinning the imposition of US-style workfare; clearly there is no ideological compatibility of any sort between the two policies. Secondly, although we might cut the philosophical link between PRWORA and the New Deal, the functioning of US welfare-to-work systems was studied at first-hand by UK policy advisers in the mid-1990s. From this, we might infer that the motivations of UK policy-makers in adopting welfare-towork were, perhaps, more pragmatic, than dogmatic, in nature. This is an important insight that we return to below. So, the link between the New Deal and PRWORA is less than clearcut. The very central concern of the New Deal, as we have seen, was to smooth the transition of Young People into the workforce. For some authors, the ‘transfer link’ is all too obvious (Dolowitz 2000; Daguerre and Taylor-Gooby 2004), yet, on closer inspection, the assumption that there is a strong link between the New Deal and Clinton’s philosophy becomes tenuous.
The UK’s Policy-Making Strategy Under New Labour As noted in the previous chapter, the development of the New Deal was at the forefront of New Labour’s government strategy. It enshrined the emblematic principles of the Third Way: rights and responsibility. Yet the policy borrowed heavily from the USA and, to an extent, the Australian
experiences. Contemporaneous interviews conducted in 1999 with senior UK policy officials reveal that the lessons of Sweden also featured in framing the welfare issues faced by New Labour in 1997, although the direct influence was less obvious: The problem with Sweden is that our system has very little in common with theirs. Of course, there are similarities because what we are talking about is the development of active labour market policies. But Sweden places a much heavier reliance on the importance of training. Moreover, their methodology for evaluating the impact of their policies in this area is not very developed. What we are interested in doing is adapting what works and what doesn’t. (Interview with Senior Official, Department of Education and Employment, August 1999)5
The ‘what works’ approach is referred to heavily throughout the set of interviews and, in a sense, is viewed as the main driver of their policy learning. Certainly, another official at the DfEE was careful to point out that the New Deal was not simply a cannibalisation of other countries’ policy portfolio: We decided that the New Deal should have what we called a ‘front end’; that is to say, a period of preparation for all individuals eligible for the programme, which has now, as you know, been called ‘the gateway’. As far as I am aware, nobody, including the Americans, has thought of this. (Interview with Senior official, Department of Education and Employment, August 1999)
This interviewee argued that, aside from the ‘Gateway’, the New Deal featured other unique policy instruments, such as the employer’s subsidy, employer’s training subsidy, post-New Deal monitoring of participants and sanctions for non-cooperation: Now, when it comes to the question of policy transfer from the US, all these elements were new ingredients. None of them derived from the American experience. If there were parallels, they weren’t immediately obvious to us. (Interview with senior official, Department of Education and Employment, August 1999)
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At the same time, the influence of Australia was also evident in policy discussions. Interestingly, one official talked of negative policy learning (or, ‘how not to implement policy’): We have talked about the US, but other countries were important. For example, Australia and New Zealand offered some lessons for us. Of course, in many ways Australia was an example of how not to carry out the policy, because as you know, it scrapped its initiative half-way through and has started again. (Interview with UK Treasury Official, August 1999)
UK Policy-Makers and US Experience The attitude of UK policymakers towards using American ideas and experiences was positive. The Democrat Party reestablished themselves in 1992 as the dominant party in the USA, and the manner in which they did so was of great interest to New Labour policy officials: We in the opposition were preparing to come into government, as I said, to cope with the kind of inheritance the Democrats coped with after ’92. It was because of the common experience of that political staging and those relationships that we spent a lot of time talking with American government policy people while we were in opposition about how they were coping with it and what we would do and so in that sense the strategy of a minimum wage and the Working Families Tax Credit was certainly influenced by the lessons which we could draw from the American experience. (Interview with Senior Treasury Advisor, August 1999)
Because of the seeming natural affinity between the parties, close working relationships were quickly established in 1996 and 1997. The usefulness of the US experiences was augmented by the support of the New Labour leadership. A member of the New Deal Taskforce commented: First of all, Gordon Brown is fixated by learning from the US. If you want to get him to accept something that you don’t think he will, if you tell him that it has worked in America it’s a much easier battle. (Member of New Deal Task Force, July 1999)
Such support for the US experience permeated the policy approach of New Labour, informing not only their approach to welfare reform, but
also electoral strategy and party re-branding. However, the different political structure of the US warranted some caution: There has been a natural affinity between the two countries in that sense and the Third Way approach that both have adopted. But that only carries, as you pointed out, that only extends to the degree that [individual] states reflect that. Some of them do and some of them don’t. (Senior Employment Policy Advisor, July 1999).
As a result, the actual adoption of policy instruments from the USA was limited. A DfEE official commented that: ‘although there has been some lesson-drawing from the USA, as already noted, we are not talking about the wholesale importation of the US model’ (Interview with Department of Education and Employment Official, August 1999). At the same time, a policy advisor from the Hudson Institute (the creators of Wisconsin’s W2 programme) identified the picking apart of the US welfare policy model: What I witnessed I think was a willingness to sample our welfare to work menu. Pick here, choose there, discard time limits, but take the work requirement, but make it voluntary instead of mandatory. Take the notion of sanctions, but, instead of making them hard-core sanctions, immediate sanctions, go a little bit light on them. (Policy Official, Hudson Institute, August 1999)
This ‘sampling’ of US welfare policies was a direct result of the caution expressed by policy-makers, aware that the US target population of single mothers was somewhat different to those of the UK. A senior policy official offered this view: It is important to remember that the ideas and policies in the United States were not about the unemployed. They were targeted towards lone parents. So this factor was a big constraint on transfer. Moreover, we were not convinced that many of these ideas were working very well. (Interview with senior DfEE Official, August 1999)
So, the policy instruments utilised in the US welfare model were treated cautiously. It is noteworthy, however, that, although UK policy officials were reluctant to adopt instruments directed at single mothers, they were
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particularly influenced by the way in which the USA approached the problems they faced: It is also worth noting that Brown was very much influenced by his contacts on the other side of the Atlantic, particularly in the ‘Employers Coalition’. The lesson learnt here was the importance of involving employers and this led to the development of the New Deal Taskforce, which is separate from the government. (Interview with senior DfEE Official, August 1999)
So, it is clear that UK policy officials were well aware of the different circumstances faced by the US policy-makers and, accordingly, were reluctant to adopt those components of the US model that directly addressed those parochial problems. What then were seen to be the crucial components of the US model to be adopted, and adapted, in the UK?
Evaluation and Evidence from the USA The findings below spell out two of the salient insights taken from the US approach: 1. they drew upon the evaluation techniques and procedures for directly monitoring the effectiveness of the New Deal (such as RCT), and 2. They drew upon the evidence generated by these evaluations to discern what worked effectively (such as the interview requirement). Although they recognised the evident demographic differences in the US approach, what impressed UK policy-makers, and what has been most influential in the format of the New Deal policy portfolio, is the evaluation approach taken by US policy-makers: One way in which the American practice did influence our thinking more directly was on the issue of evaluation. The New Deal has been thoroughly evaluated from the beginning… This emphasis on evaluation is something which is characteristic of New Labour and a quality not immediately apparent in the previous Conservative administration. (Interview with senior DfEE Official, August 1999)
The use of quasi-scientific methods to evaluate the efficacy of welfareto-work policies made an immediate impact on New Labour officials. The significance of the American-style ‘what works?’ approach was identified and viewed as intrinsically compatible with the pragmatism of New
Labour. By seconding American policy experts, UK policy-makers were able to ensure that the New Deal benefited directly from US insights: Across the Atlantic [redacted]6 at the MDRC made an important contribution. He very much had a ‘roving ambassador’ role. More particularly, he was useful to us when it came to the question of evaluating the results of the New Deal… In terms of countries, our focus has been typically AngloSaxon. As well as the US, we also visited Australia and New Zealand. However, one reason why the US was more useful to us was because the Americans were further advanced on this question of evaluating their programmes. (Interview with senior Treasury Officials, August 1999)
The putative effectiveness of US evaluation procedures drove the ministerial support for the New Deal and its associated programmes. A member of the New Deal Taskforce recognised the influence that US evidence had upon ministers: The reason why I’m actually quite keen that we do use the lessons of the US, once you accept that we’re actually talking about apples and pears, is that what the US have been very good at is a couple of things in the general area of welfare. One is that the programmes that they do run are very effective, they are very business-like, very brisk, they’re very intensive… Our advice to Ministers for two years has been to intensify and sharpen the whole delivery. It’s very convenient to demonstrate that working well in the US. (emphasis added: Interview with member of New Deal Task Force, August 1999)
This is a crucial point because it lends weight to the view that it was the methodology of US welfare reform, rather than the content, that was implemented in the New Deal. The main substance of US reform entailed dealing with the ‘problems’ of lone mothers and the threat they constituted to the fabric of American society. The targeting of this demographic group was clearly not a priority for UK policy-makers: On New Deal in particular, first of all the US experience is not entirely relevant because of the huge difference in welfare benefit. And, as I keep reminding them, and I’ve had quite a lively debate with Gordon Brown over this on a number of occasions and one-to-one, that actually the US experience is all around unmarried mothers, or lone parents, women with children, single parents with children. And that is not necessarily indicative
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of the problem that we have in this country. (Interview with member of New Deal Task Force, August 1999)
Thus, the techniques and methods used in the USA featured heavily in the New Deal because they could be used to show the ‘success’ of policy: In a sense what we can learn from the Americans is also a lot of technical things. This works and in particular you will always get this with the US because there are 50 states and, as you say, the Americans are great at running pilots. (Interview with Treasury Official, August 1999)
Of course, US emphasis on evaluation was not limited to the welfare model. Another Treasury official argued that the UK’s implementation of a national minimum wage also utilised US evidence: Certainly, the US policy, and intellectual and academic work, of those five or six years meant that we were much more confident politically about the minimum wage as a policy than we might have been ten years ago. (Interview with Senior Treasury Advisor, August 1999)
Adopting the ‘what works’ approach has instituted mechanisms of selfmonitoring in the UK’s approach. One Treasury official claimed that the resulting flow of information on the progress of policy was an attractive feature of the ongoing evaluations: Moreover, I think it is important not to see the role of evaluation as necessarily being able to judge the success or failure of a policy at a particular moment in time. We see it very much in terms of a particular process. We are very keen to learn from previous experience and feed this back into future exercises in evaluation, so that you end up with a sense of continuous improvement. (Interview with Senior Treasury Advisor, August 1999)
Because ‘(t)he Americans are quite good at evaluating the impact of different programmes’ (Interview with DfEE Official 1999), New Labour actively canvassed US policy-makers for their welfare-to-work policy techniques and methodology. Because of the sizeable emphasis placed upon a ‘what works’ approach, policy officials were effectively freed-up to pursue demonstrably effective policies. By uncoupling ideology from policy, the initiative for developing policy was effectively devolved to a professionalised Civil Service.
The above interviews reveal a variety of attitudes and approaches taken by UK policy-makers when formulating UK welfare policy. It is noteworthy that, from the very beginning, policy officials from New Labour were actively looking overseas to draw policy lessons from other countries. The countries that featured most often in this search were Sweden (because of their wider experience in LMP), the USA and Australia. Although Sweden was included, and at a high level, it quickly became obvious that the central plank of the LMP of New Labour was to be the welfare-to-work stance pioneered in the USA. Of course, US policy was not adopted wholesale and the interviewees alluded to some of the unique features of the New Deal. However, the central and ongoing concern of policy officials was to learn from, and incorporate, the evaluation evidence that was extensively available in the USA. The volume of data that had been collated by US officials allowed UK policy-makers to make evidencebased arguments to justify adopting welfare policy instruments from the USA. Moreover, they actively adopted US instruments of evaluation to undertake ongoing evidence-based assessments of the New Deal. These policy-makers were well aware that the problems faced, and the purpose of PRWORA (and the associated state programs), were vastly different from the UK. The ‘problem’ of single mothers is, perhaps, the single greatest difference between the two countries. Yet, the policy instruments covering time limits, compulsory interviews and, most crucially, evidencebased service delivery were transferred from the USA, where the target was single mothers, to the UK, where the target was unemployed young people.
Australian Policy-Makers’ and the UK, US Experience In this section, I want to examine the findings of my empirical work with elite policy-makers in Australia. Essentially, I look to establish three insights: firstly, for Australian policy-makers, the cultural and linguistic linkages between Australia and the UK facilitated the flow of policy insights between the two countries. Secondly, I want to briefly highlight (although I have neither time nor space to pursue this in great depth) the existence of an informal policy network that exists at the elite level of policy-makers in social policy between the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland (identified for the first time by this research). Thirdly, this section will emphasise the importance of evidence in this transfer process: Australian policy-makers regard evaluations and research
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conducted in the UK as valuable assets in promoting evidence-based policy. The previous chapter referred to the unique institutional arrangements that have developed in Australia. The manner of providing equitable wage agreements to the labour force has, for many years, been privileged above measures to stimulate higher employment: Historically…employment policy initiatives have tended to be, and particularly labour market programmes, have been devised and designed in isolation from the industrial relations regime. Partly because of Australia’s institutional arrangements, the industrial relations system is very much mediated by a tribunal system, and the government can’t just dictate what shall happen there, it has to work through it. (Author’s interview with former Senior Official, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, July 2004)
Such a division in policy portfolios forces Australian policy-makers to second-guess the likely conditions of the industrial relations regime. As a consequence, labour market policies are seen as less controllable: If the incomes policy was a good as it gets, in terms of the capacity to restrain aggregate wages growth and so on, then the labour market programmes had to deal with the outcomes thrown up by that. (Author’s interview with former Senior Official, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, July 2004)
With these uncertain conditions comes a scepticism towards the actual material impact that labour market interventions can have in Australia: There is always debate about the relative effectiveness and, indeed, the net impact of labour market programmes, and anybody who has any real grasp of that knows that the net impact of many interventions in that area are relatively indifferent. (Author’s interview with former Senior Official, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, July 2004)
As such, ‘policy-learning’ from Australia in any form must address the awkward institutional arrangements that hamstring the effectiveness of policy-makers. Indeed, the Australian public service receives a number of visits annually from parliamentarians, policy-makers and professionals in search of policy lessons. The former Secretary of DEWR observed:
We would have a pretty regular flow of international visitors, task forces, or study groups coming across to Australia. Often they were one-off rather than ongoing. But there was quite a lot of that… we would have a regular flow of people who were looking at the changes and how Australia were handling them and why we had gone in a particular direction rather than another. (Interview with author, July 2004)
However, according to the same interviewee, a number of factors militate against constructive policy learning. Here, he offers his view on the capacity of these visits to garner any real lessons: I think it’s pretty limited really. The capacity to actually assist them think through -of course you don’t necessarily understand where they’re coming from, unless you happen to know something about their policy environment - so the quality of the interaction is constrained because of that. It may be constrained because of language barriers; everything you say is being translated… And then a number of our institutional arrangements are in some ways unique and hard to get across in an easy conversation. (Author’s Interview, Former Secretary of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, July 2004)
Despite these apparent institutional limitations, the possibility of policy learning was viewed as very real. The previous chapter emphasised the importance of ideas and specifically those of the Third Way. The integral role these play in the policy-making approach of UK policy-makers was made evident in their adoption of US welfare policy tools. Philosophical compatibility plays an equally important role in the approach taken by Australian policy-makers: You’ve got to find an ethos that is compatible with yours for political reasons, but also for socio-political reasons; it’s got to be acceptable in society, it’s got to have legitimacy. There’s no point in having an underlying current of philosophical pressure on the Australian electorate which is saying you’ve got to pay your own way better and wean yourself off government than to go to the champions of ‘the government provides everything’… So you’re selective, and that brings you back to a very narrow socio-economic group which probably clones policies all over the world. (Author’s Interview, Former Secretary of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, July 2004)
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The former Secretary’s insight highlights the small pool of socioeconomic policies overseas that are seen as commensurate with the ethos of the Australian political climate. Importantly however, this view was tempered by the assertion that active ‘interactions’ with overseas countries with a view to adopting policies was not commonplace: I’m not sure we’ve ever had…a methodical interaction with any foreign government from the point of view of adopting more testing policies. I don’t think philosophically we’ve ever felt that we needed to. We’ve been very independent minded country in that sense. We’re also a little arrogant in thinking we can teach other countries how to do things, and that arrogance is fed by the fact that occasionally that is right. (Author’s Interview with Former Secretary of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, July 2004)
Accordingly, although such interactions are not regular, they nevertheless occur and, as such, may rather be viewed as contingent interactions. My study aimed to obtain a cross section of policy-makers’ views towards overseas policies from a range of Australian public service departments. As the above insight from the former Secretary of the Australian Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) indicates, the broad consensus was one of general reticence about policy borrowing from other countries. However, the UK has a distinctly different contingent relationship with the Australian public service (APS). Certainly, the cultural and historical links with the UK were often emphasised: I think we’ve often had a good dialogue [with the UK] because we have the same language and shared history and all that sort of stuff. But its also, to an extent, the same way of looking at the world. If you look at Europe the UK is more open, liberal, laissez-faire than the French or the Germans. And, more global, frankly. (Author’s interview with Senior Official, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade July 2004)
This ‘special’ relationship, however, is not unproblematic. The cultural and historical links, according to one interviewee, brought political baggage that has distorted the balance of the UK-Australia relationship: The British and Australians…always had a bit of a master-servant [relationship]. And of course Westminster being the source model, when Australia or Canada ends up with a corrupted Westminster they consider us to
be impure. It’s not overt, but it’s not an equal relationship. (Author’s interview with Former Secretary of DEWR, July 2004)
In spite of this asymmetric relationship, Australian policy-makers nevertheless actively sought to borrow the underpinning ideas of UK policies. For example, the former Deputy Secretary to the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet said: The hard data is what [ministers] want. For example, [the UK’s] Sure Start was something that you got… for early education as a result of hard evidence. […] I suppose I’m saying it’s evidence-base they want. Whether it’s economic based or not. But if you don’t look at the sums in terms of the cost then it’s less likely to go far. (Interview with author, July 2004)
The acknowledgement that Australian policy-makers briefed ministers directly on the British model of welfare provision in the mid-1990s is a crucial one, for it directly points to a two-way pathway of policy information transfer between the UK and Australia. Moreover, it directly acknowledges the use by Australian policy-makers of the empirical evaluations that UK policy-makers were producing. The evidence-oriented approach matched the expectations and approaches adopted by Australian officials. Indeed, the most senior of my interviewees, a former head of the Australian Public Service, said of his policy-making ethos, ‘I would like to think it is heavily based on evidence. I would like to think that the way I go about making policies is pretty much textbook’ (July 2004). Yet, he also acknowledged the structural advantage presented by a common language: The one extra dimension with the UK is, I’d say, is not that the ideas are necessarily better for us, but they are more accessible; there’s a common language and we tend to know each other. So the ideas are more accessible. (Interview with author, July 2004)
This ‘mediation’ process is seen as a natural process involved in adopting policy ideas. For this interviewee, different political motives, institutions and environments provided obvious qualifications to the transfer of UK policy. On his view, the use of UK policy information is mediated and adapted through the respective ‘lens’ of the policy-maker:
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You start with the policy idea… and sometimes you don’t go beyond that. You do want to know the details of how effective it is, obviously, you’re interested in the evaluations. But it may be the details can’t be translated. I mean, for a start off, we’re a federation and the UK isn’t. So in the area of health you straight away can’t do it exactly. But if the idea works then you can adapt it fairly readily to suit your own country in terms of implementation. (Author’s interview with Former Head of Australian Public Service, July 2004)
The manner in which such policies were seen to be transferable depended a lot on the use of UK evaluative evidence. It is apparent that the range of evaluation evidence played a central role in the arguments promoting the use of overseas policy. For example, one interviewee noted: Britain is actually quite an interesting reforming government. A lot of what we’ve adopted in employment reform and in social security reform is against based on the English model. I remember writing when we briefed ministers in Australia about the British experience, the positive nature of the British experience. The evaluations the British had done on their policies. We were selective: this one worked, this one didn’t, here’s the notion the Brits have done. (Author’s interview with Former Secretary of DEWR, August 2004)
The fact that evaluative evidence is easily translated (as it is usually based in statistics) is clearly an advantage. This is particularly useful in institutions where ‘hard’ statistics carry more weight: I think obviously it’s easier to pick up and remarket something which is more quantifiable and where you think you can make a strong case for “had these impacts, and this research demonstrates these impacts” and you can translate the measure into income distribution statistics or whatever else is a relevant component. Social policy, of its nature, is a lot more amorphous, but I wouldn’t say that that makes it less amenable to being international ideas or fresh ideas being able to be brought on and indigenised in order to have them effectively appreciated and considered. (Interview with former Senior Official, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, July 2004)
At this time, Australian policy-makers were also looking at the USA for programmes backed by strong evaluative evidence. Specifically, during the development of the Australian Child Support policy (itself the subject of
strong interest from the UK), Australian policy officials used evidence from the US experience to inform the development of their own policy: As we developed it [the child support system] we were getting all these questions thrown at us, so we were using United States to see what evidence there was that might help. And evidence is very powerful in the cabinet room. Especially comparative evidence is very powerful. (Author’s interview with Former Deputy Secretary of Australian office of Prime Minister and Cabinet, July 2004)
Clearly, the use of evidence from overseas is useful not only in formulating policy approaches, but also in strengthening the justification for that approach itself. In this sense, the Australian policy approach emulates that of UK policy-makers in their appeal to evaluative evidence in support of insights drawn from overseas.
Australia’s JET Policy, and the USA The JET programme (Jobs, Education and Training for sole parents) was developed and introduced in Australia in 1989 (Cass 1993; Gray and Stanton 2002; Pierson and Castles 2002). Cass summarises its aims: JET provides a voluntary labour market programme for sole parents in receipt of pension. The programme aids entry to the labour market either in the short or longer term through an integrated strategy of individual advice and counselling, access to education, training and employment experience programmes and affordable childcare places. The JET programme is jointly administered by the Departments of Social Security (DSS), Health, Housing and Community Services (HHCS), and Employment, Education and Training (DEET). (Cass 1993, p. 6)
Similarly, Pierson and Castles claim that: JET was established by the Australian federal government in March 1989. Its aim was ‘to provide the advice and practical help sole parent pensioners need to enter or return to employment: the ultimate objective being to increase their income and reduce pension expenditure’. (DSS 1992)
Pierson, in an earlier article, references a document from the Australian Social Justice Commission that states:
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Australia has pioneered a JET programme for lone parents which has, over the last five years, reached nearly half of that group, significantly raising levels of training, employment and earnings amongst its clients. Savings have consistently outstripped targets and are now close to the overall programme costs. Indeed the programme has been so successful that the Australian government is now considering extending it to the registered long-term unemployed. (Social Justice Commission 1994, p. 172, cited in Pierson 2003, p. 88)
However, it has not been noted to date in the literature that, in fact, the JET programme was heavily based upon the Massachusetts state model, called ‘Education and Training Choices’. One of the elite interviewees was heavily involved in its adoption from the USA and gave this frank exposition of how the Australian JET programme came into being: We had this wonderful programme called JET (Jobs, Education and Training for sole parents) when I was in the department of social security… I went over to Massachusetts where they had the well-known governor at that time, [Governor] Dukakis, and I had read about this scheme, and I went and looked at it, and I was pretty impressed. They called theirs E.T… Education and Training, and it involved getting sole parents into work, but not coercively, it was a voluntary scheme that provided them the necessary training, assessing what they wanted to do in life… And it was being very successful. I started talking to the state of Victoria about trying this thing. Then the minister goes over there -or he’s about to go - He comes back and says, ‘we’re going to do it, not going to try it.’ Then he arranged, because he’d been there, this is the network thing, for the heads of the departments of social security and education and training in Massachusetts - who were married to each other - to come to Australia… He had them go all around Australia talking to the sceptical people, who they were mainly middle-aged males, about how grand this scheme could be and how well they could do it… and so it was a very smooth implementation process- it’s still successful. (Former Deputy Secretary of the Australian Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet, interview with the author, July 2004)
The fact that this policy originated in the USA is potentially significant because it shows that, even in the 1980s, Australian policy officials were adopting a pragmatic approach to policy-making and adopting policy from overseas. For some authors, this is explained simply: Australia was a precursor of the Third Way ideology (and its pragmatism). Pierson and
Castles view the Third Way as: ‘an omnibus term for a particular reorientation of parties of the centre-left in the face of a series of substantial changes in their external environment (encompassing both new threats and new opportunities)’ (Pierson and Castles 2002, pp. 684–685). Whilst careful not to suggest that Australia’s policy approach in the 1980s and 1990s was a comfortable ‘fit’ with the Third Way, Pierson and Castles nevertheless suggest that: Australia had, in some sense, long been pursuing, if not quite a third way, then certainly a social protection regime that was quite different from those prevailing in continental Europe. In shorthand terms, the ALP’s strategy had for almost a century contained elements which were new to third way reformers elsewhere (2002, p. 697)
For Australian policy-makers, the combined experiences of the UK and USA provided a rich background of experience from which to draw. Yet, the New Deal and PRWORA were not seen by my interviewees as explicit examples that influenced their approach. Because of the historical and cultural relationship that Australian policy-makers felt they shared with the UK, there was an ongoing, and shared, institutional relationship which was low-key, but nevertheless persistent. Interestingly, in the cases where they directly looked at particular policies in the UK, the impact of evidence was emphasised. In this way, the Australian officials mirrored their UK counterparts with their concern for evidence-based approaches that use ongoing evaluations. The importance of ‘hard data’ was emphasised as a key component in the argument about whether to adopt a particular policy. This insight marks an important step: policies appear to be more likely to be transferred when evidence and evaluations of their effectiveness are available. This finding is returned to in the next chapter. The finding that the Australian JET programme was based upon a US model is potentially very significant, even more so since it is an example of a policy that was adapted from the USA to Australia and then to the UK, underlining the strong policy relationship between the three. Indeed, the relationship between these three English-speaking countries is even more significant given the next findings.
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Systemising Learning About Labour Markets: A Network Emerges The close contacts between officials of the three countries identified here underline the institutional proximity that had emerged by the late 1990s on the questions of reforming welfare. One finding to emerge from the set of interviews was the identification of an informal policy knowledge network that exists between UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Ireland which holds biannual meetings. Such an elite social policy network with regular and programmed meetings does not appear to have been identified in the literature. Another elite interviewee confirmed the meetings and gave this explanation of why the network formed and selected member countries as it did: Well it’s partly a function of who we have closest and most regular dealings with and affinities with, I suppose, through a -not only just by virtue of sharing language- but who historically we’ve had close links with or have shared systems of government with. So, UK and Canada and, obviously, New Zealand. And a number of departments of state actually have periodic ‘get-togethers’ with those. For example, our employment department meets every couple of years with its counterparts from Ireland, the UK, Canada, The US, New Zealand. They come together and pool ideas, and thinking and experiences. Now, obviously, we’re linked into the US, which is the focus for international bodies like the World Bank, the IMF, quite aside from the significance of the US economy and our defence relationship. Our linkages with other non-speaking countries, on the whole, are just not as deep, or as well-established. (Interview with former Senior Official 2, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, July 2004)
Crucially, this network is predominantly made up of the most senior public servant of that country’s employment department, underlining its importance as a network of policy ideas at the very highest level. The interviewee gave the following insights to the attitude of the USA to the exchange of policy information and the value of the informal meetings: The English-derived countries that come from… the British systems, even if they resent it, are a more natural grouping. And so, for example, there are very active exchanges between Australia and Britain, Australia and Canada, Australia and New Zealand… But the Americans never join us. They are very isolated: don’t allow foreigners into the government. So, to
have the American head of social security come to this six-country thing, and participate actively and freely, was a coup and it was valuable. (Author’s interview with former Senior Official 1 of Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, July 2004)
Another interviewee agreed that these conferences took place regularly. The meetings were given the moniker, ‘The Belmont Conference’. Apart from these brief acknowledgements, little else about these meetings is available in the public realm. One (off the record) participant in one of these conferences noted: it was clear that similar program structures and labour market strategies meant that they shared many of the same policy and management problems. They could have a very informed discussion about the design of earned income tax credits/supplements, for example. A lot of “sharing” was going on over meals and at breaks.
This finding represents an important empirical step in the development of policy transfer analysis for it indicates that policy-makers are increasingly willing to engage in policy transfer on an ongoing or regularised basis. This insight stands in contrast to Evans and Davies’ stated depiction of policy transfer networks: [Evans and Davies] developed the concept of a policy transfer network to depict an ad hoc, action oriented policy-making structure set up with the specific intention of engineering rapid policy-change. They exist only for the time that a transfer is occurring.7 (emphases added, Evans 2004, p. 22; Evans and Davies 1999, p. 376)
The fact that policy-makers engage in policy transfer networks on a regular, and not ad hoc, basis highlights the importance of understanding changes in contemporary policy-making. New and emerging forms of inter-government communication and policy exchange must be captured and investigated by political scientists, so that explanations of political outcomes can be both richer and more accurate.
Conclusion There are three key findings from his empirical work. Firstly, it has demonstrated that the ideological parameters of the PRWORA were
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constructed by the Republicans in the 1992–1996 Congress. The insights taken from interviews with former senior House Republicans and Clinton’s advisors reject the claim that New Labour were borrowing a ‘Democrat’ policy. Rather, the substance of the New Deal was seen to be qualitatively different to the welfare-to-work programmes of the USA. An advisor to Clinton argued that: ‘The British system is a progressive welfare-to-work policy; it’s completely different from the American idea’. Similarly, for Walker and Wiseman, there are strong indications that New Labour’s New Deal extends beyond the labour market interventions authored in PRWORA. Whilst TANF was designed to tackle the problem of welfare-dependent families with children, the New Deal initiated a far wider range of interventions including: welfare-to-work policies aimed at young and long-term recipients of unemployment benefits, disabled people, and single parents; tax credits and other policies intended to raise take-home pay; bridging schemes to facilitate the transition to work; area-based antipoverty and economic regeneration initiatives; and revised child support policies and increased cash benefits to help defray the costs of raising children. (Walker and Wiseman 2001, p. 124)
As such, the New Deal was not a US-derived policy transfer. It was conceived and designed to target the young unemployed, whereas the US policy quite clearly targeted single mothers. What can be seen, however, is extensive contacts between UK and US policy-makers and extensive learning: What, then, was adopted from the USA? What came out of the US experience, it seems, is both the welfare-to-work rationality (i.e. making benefit payments conditional on eventual work requirements) coupled with an extensive regime of evaluation. It is this emphasis on the ‘what works’ approach and continuous monitoring that featured heavily in the UK’s New Deal and which constitutes the central component of policy transfer. The use of American-style evaluation procedures mirrored the instrumental rationalism that was lauded by New Labour. What works was what mattered and the US approach was seen to work because of its extensive evaluation regime: ‘Surely all the evidence comes from the United States even though it has nothing to do with the unemployed… since there isn’t any other evidence that is being influential’ (Interview with member of UK’s New Deal Task Force, July 1999).
Some Comments on Research Methodology The findings reported here are, of course, subject to a number of methodological limitations: (i) as a network of elite policy officials, there is a relatively small pool of participants able to furnish valid insights, (ii) the small pool of participants are relatively inaccessible since they are diffused across six countries, (iii) senior officials, such as the those in the Belmont Conference (see later in this chapter) participants, were possibly constrained by contractual confidentiality requirements, or are naturally reticent about what is a highly informal exchange of views, and (iv) the time they have available for research interviews is limited by the demands of their senior role in government. These interviews were augmented and/or corroborated with government documents throughout the research and this is reflected in the reporting of the data. All interviews are anonymised. The following interviews were conducted between July 2004 and January 2011. All interviews were conducted with the guarantee of anonymity (with references only to former posts held, minus any identifying detail). I have one opening caveat: the selected quotes reflect the priorities of my research agenda and are recorded faithfully from transcriptions of each interview and, where the context of the quote is important to its interpretation, I have preceded the quote with the relevant context. The information derived from the interview data is taken as prima facie evidence; that is, they are taken, interpreted and analysed at face value. Of course, any qualitative data is open to hermeneutic distortion (conscious or otherwise) and, as the principal researcher, I have minimised this to the best of my ability. As mentioned earlier, this study is qualitative, which means that it relies on the discursive insights that actors choose to share. Whilst critics of this method and methodology point to the inherent subjectivity of data captured through interviews, my claim is that subjectivity is precisely what my emergent model seeks to capture. As Devine writes, such qualitative methods: ‘are most appropriately employed where the goal is to explore people’s subjective experiences and the meanings they attach to these experiences’ (emphasis in original, Devine 2002, p. 199). Policy transfer is not a neutral by-product of the policy process; it is through the subjective ideas of agents that policy transfers occur. The findings in this chapter are theoretically-informed and informative theoretically. As outlined earlier, the methodological approach adopted
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here rests upon a ‘depth ontology’ and a critical realist epistemology. Often with research studies, it is unclear how theory marries with the empirical material. Here, I wish to render the relationship in my research between the abstract (theory) and the concrete (material) unambiguously. To return to my theoretical claims in Chapter 4, I argued that the link between structures and agents in policy transfer analysis remains absent. I put forward the claim that this link can be established through a critical realist framework; specifically, that emergent properties of deep structures are to be found at the level of the ‘empirical’ and that, by unpacking these emergent properties, we can arrive at an understanding of how structures are linked to agents in policy transfer. Methodologically, this has shaped/directed my study in the following ways: i. Qualitative methodology: the research findings are derived from interviews, policy documents and statements, thus are not informed by statistical findings. ii. Hermeneutically-cautious: I make no claims to having direct access to reality (especially through the ‘double hermeneutic of others’ interpretations of events and phenomena) instead, it is recognised that processes, facets, phenomena, events, structures (the ‘real) are inevitably mediated by human interpretive faculties. Indeed, what is defined as the area of interest is, for reasons of time and practicality, arbitrarily circumscribed. iii. Inductively-led research: the research process is led by its findings; this means that I do not seek to make falsifiable hypothetical claims, rather I look to build/develop theory through the findings.
Notes 1. Participants were identified in one of two ways: (i) travel and accommodation expenses associated with attendance at network meetings. These, for most countries, were subject to public disclosure in institutional annual reports. (ii) Pre-existing contacts with policy officials aware of the network enabled the author to identify and approach network participants. The interviews were conducted under the Chatham House rules and the findings are reported with the permission of interviewees. 2. It should be noted that David Elwood is more commonly understood to be Clinton’s primary intellectual inspiration for his ideas on welfare (see Weaver 2000).
3. Much of the credit of lowering welfare rolls was given to Clinton in recognition of his political will to change the terms of welfare engagement. 4. There is a strong suggestion that Clinton signed the PRWORA 1996 because he felt that his chances of reelection were pinned against the implementation of the legislation. Indeed, Clinton refused to sign the two previous versions of the PRWORA, having been counselled by his advisors that to do so was unnecessary (Interview with Senior White House Staff Advisor, 2005). 5. The interviews referred to in this section were conducted in 1999 with a number of UK policy officials for a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust. As with the interviews I conducted in the US and Australia, all interviewees have been anonymised. 6. Obscured to retain anonymity. 7. This relates closely to our conceptualisation of ‘relationships’ between actors. To say that the policy transfer network exists only for the time the transfer ‘is occurring’ implies that the network is only incidental. To contextualise this, consider a transaction between a shopkeeper and a customer: to observe that a transaction has a beginning and an end is the commonsensical position to adopt. However, the transaction is not a material phenomena (except insofar as to say that goods are exchanged) it is a property of the wider system of currency, value, exchange and ownership. It is an emergent property of the wider structures.
References Banks, J., Disney, R., Duncan, A., & Van Reenen, J. (2005). The internationalisation of public welfare policy. The Economic Journal, 115(502), C62–C81. Cass, B. (1993). Sole parent family policy in Australia: Income support and labour market issues. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 1, 3–16. Daguerre, A., & Taylor-Gooby, P. (2004). Neglecting Europe: Explaining the predominance of American ideas in new labour’s welfare policies since 1997. Journal of European Social Policy, 14(1), 25–39. https://doi.org/10.1177/ 0958928704039786. Department of Social Security, Australia. (1992). Jobs, Education and Training (JET): Evaluation report. Canberra: Social Policy Division. Devine, F. (2002). Qualitative methods: Theory and methods in political science. In D. Marsh & G. Stoker (Eds.), Theories and Methods in Political Science, 2. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Dolowitz, D. P. (2000). Special issue on policy transfer—Introduction. Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration, 13(1), 1–4. Retrieved from ://WOS:000085236800001.
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Driver, S. (2004). North Atlantic drift: Welfare reform and the ‘Third Way’ politics of New Labour and the new democrats. In L. Martell, Leggett, W., & Hale, S. (Eds.), The Third Way and beyond: Criticisms, futures and alternatives. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Ellwood, D. T. (1996). Welfare reform as I knew it: When bad things happen to good policies. American Prospect, 26, 22–29. Evans, M. (2004). Policy transfer in global perspective. Aldershot, Hants, UK and Burlington, VT: Ashgate. Evans, M., & Davies, J. (1999). Understanding policy transfer: A multilevel, multi-disciplinary perspective. Public Administration, 77 (2), 361–385. Retrieved from ://WOS:000081848100007. Gray, M. C., & Stanton, D. (2002). Lessons of United States welfare reforms for Australian social policy. Australian Institute of Family Studies. King, D., & Wickham-Jones, M. (1999). Bridging the Atlantic: The democratic (party) origins of welfare to work. In New labour, new welfare state (pp. 257– 280). Bristol: Policy Press. Pierson, C. (2003). Learning from Labor? Welfare policy transfer between Australia and Britain. Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 41(1), 77–100. Pierson, C., & Castles, F. G. (2002). Australian antecedents of the Third Way. Political Studies, 50(4), 683–702. Walker, R., & Wiseman, M. (2001). Britain’s new deal and the next round of US welfare reform. Retrieved from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wop/wispod/ 1223-01.html. Accessed 1st September 2020. Weaver, R. K. (2000). Ending welfare as we know it. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
The Genesis of Transgovernmental Networks
Our final empirical chapter expands on the formation, evolution, operation and outcomes associated with a specific Anglosphere transgovernmental policy transfer network—The Windsor Conference Policy Network (WCPN)—to render in detail how a typical network of this sort operates and to draw out the wider vista of subsequent policy network collaboration, especially with respect to those within the Anglosphere. In Part I, the case study highlights the impact that transnational policy networking can have on the dissemination of policy ideas amongst a cohort of elite policy officials. It provides an overview of the origins and evolution of the network; initial insights into the structure and format of the network; outcomes associated with the network; and reflections on future empirical research. Part II of the chapter sets out a broader vista of Anglosphere networks to have emerged since the WCPN that fall into the same transgovernmental network template. These findings offer an opportunity for critical reflection on the intersection of the concepts of policy transfer and transgovernmentalism, and it is contended that the case yields valuable empirical insights into the murky processes of transgovernmental policy transfer, policy learning and discrete regulation. The ambition is to provide an empirical and theoretical insight into the opaque processes of transgovernmental policy transfer and regulation drawing from the three-stage framework proposed in Chapter 3.
© The Author(s) 2021 T. Legrand, The Architecture of Policy Transfer, Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55821-5_7
Part I: The Origins and Evolution of the Windsor Conference Policy Network The Windsor Conference is an informal network of Anglosphere chief executives of social welfare and employment departments from the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The Windsor Conference was originally formed with the intention of exchanging ideas and experiences pertaining to social policy and labour market policy. The inception of the network’s predecessor (the ‘Five Countries’ meeting) in 1989 coincided with the era in which information technology was making its mark on public administration. Indeed, as outlined below, the use and utility of IT in government were the first order of business for the network. The network was, and remains, exclusive to the Anglosphere countries. The Windsor Conference was formed in 2009 as an amalgamation of two closely connected policy networks. The first of these formed in 1989 and was concerned with social welfare policy. Known initially as the Five Countries (latterly renamed the Six Countries upon the entry of Ireland into the network), the network was used as a template for the formation of the second network, framed around labour market policy, known as the Belmont Conference. These networks operated in parallel during the 1990s and into the next decade until April 2009 when the two combined to form the Windsor Conference. Below I discuss the evolution of the network(s) in more detail. Links between UK, US, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian officials had already existed in bilateral form between social policy agencies for some time prior to 1989. The impetus for the creation of a formal multilateral network of policy learning, however, emerged from discussions between senior Australian, US and UK officials in the late 1980s. At that time, the network’s founding officials recognised that global economic systems, underpinned by similar market mechanisms and populated by similar regulatory ideas, induced a series of policy problems that were common across Anglosphere countries. One of key officials involved in the network’s creation noted: I found the ISSA Conference in Vienna in 1988 interesting but not very helpful in regard to the sorts of issues we were facing. In conversation with the U.K., Canadians and the U.S. people it was clear that we were all in the same boat. At that stage we were a bit ahead on IT and we had the Bettina Cass Social Security Review well under way. It seemed sensible
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to have a high level get together to talk about common issues. The other potential participants all thought it was a good idea and we (DSS Australia) agreed to convene the first meeting. (Interviewee A: Six Countries meeting participant, May 2012)
With comparable, albeit far from identical, social security systems, an initial one-off conference in Australia was scheduled to flesh out some of the approaches to solving the emerging policy problems amongst the participating countries. The international conference of senior social policy officials was, from the outset, conceived as an informal network meeting in which discussions could be a confidential ‘warts and all’ dialogue on the separate and shared policy issues problems faced by social security departments. According to one interviewee, it was made clear that network participants would only be heads of agencies and their most senior staff (Interviewee D: Six Countries meeting participant, June 2012). The initial five countries were selected on the basis of a set of shared policy characteristics: OECD membership, English speaking; common policy protocols and terminology; and shared institutional features. Of course, common features were not evenly mirrored: the USA, for example, is not modelled on a Westminster system and its social security delivery was and remains rather more fragmented than that of its counterparts. The Five Countries Meeting: A Network Born The first international meeting was hosted by the Australian government in November 1989. Although hindered by a nation-wide pilots’ strike, the meeting was attended by senior officials responsible for managing social security policy from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, the USA and Canada. Officials from these five English-speaking OECD countries included: Herb Doggette (Deputy Commissioner for Operations) from the US Social Security Administration; Deputy Secretary of the UK Department of Social Security, Ann Bowtell (later the Permanent Secretary); Derek Volker, the Secretary of Australia’s Department of Social Security; John Grant, Director-General of New Zealand’s Department of Social Welfare; and Ian Green, the Assistant Deputy Minister for Canada’s Department of Health and Welfare. The premise of the Five Countries meeting in Australia was to allow participating countries to identify common social security policy
and administration issues. Despite clear differences between respective insurance and contribution-based national social security schemes, policy considerations were regarded as substantively the same. At that time, all Anglosphere countries were struggling to handle growing privacy concerns and public calls for greater freedom of information. Further, it was acknowledged at the conference that there were common concerns around how to establish effective social policy for single parents, workforce participation, the long-term unemployed, training and case management and disability support. Shortly before the 1989 meeting, a comprehensive review of Australia’s social security published its findings. The Cass Social Security Review, established in 1986, signalled the government’s intention to focus efforts on enhancing the labour market participation of individuals claiming social security benefits, such as single parents, the unemployed and people with disabilities. Indeed, the Review’s analysis of social security provided the impetus for the creation of Australia’s JET scheme, an initiative to induce lone parents to take up paid work. The findings of the Cass Review were disseminated to the Six Countries meeting participants to provoke discussion and afford participants the opportunity to engage with social policy issues faced by the Australian government. All five countries faced similar challenges for disability/invalidity pensions and, moreover, the question of how government should address issues specific to individuals with profound disability. The agenda for the initial meeting was divided into two policy streams. The first examined common policy and administrative issues, as outlined above. The second focused on emerging applications of information technology and, in particular, the challenges of designing and implementing electronic administration of social security payments. The late 1980s was the dawn of the computer age in public administration. Information technology—viz. data centres, networked information and the desktop computer—was becoming a core feature of service delivery for agencies in the Anglosphere countries, especially data-intensive agencies such as social security. According to one interviewee who attended the first conference: ‘There was a view that [Australia] was ahead of the game on computing infrastructure’ (Interviewee D, June 2012). The discussions soon furnished valuable shared outcomes. For example, on the delivery of social security benefits, Australia’s payment of benefit by direct bank transfer attracted the interest of UK officials, where the benefit payments via ‘Giros’ had been particularly vulnerable to fraud. Discussions also
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centred on organisational arrangements including institutional systems, social security office set-ups, IT link-ups and staff training. Notably, the IT group subsequently met separately from the main meeting to maintain knowledge links on IT infrastructure arrangements. Crucially, although the meeting in Australia was intended as a one-off opportunity to share the successes and failures of the respective participating countries, the 1989 Five Countries meeting sparked considerable enthusiasm amongst participants to continue not only the regular multilateral network meeting, but also secured strong professional bilateral and multilateral relationships. It was determined that hosting of the five countries meeting would rotate between participants and that subsequent meetings, which included the subnetwork IT group,1 would be thematically focused. For example, the 1990 meeting in Canada was dominated by discussions over Child Support policy. The 1991 meeting was held in the UK and focused on the management of fiscal resources and administrative structuring. It attracted a similar seniority of officials2 and cost the UK government an estimated £40,0003 to host. After the fourth meeting, held in Washington DC in 1992, meetings were scheduled to run approximately every eighteen months. The Belmont Conference and Institutional Imperatives of the Anglosphere A parallel policy network, the Belmont Conference was convened in the 1990s in the USA. The network was inspired in part by the success of the Six Countries and held to an identical format: a meeting of the heads of the department responsible for employment policy from the Anglosphere countries. As with the Six Countries meeting, the proceedings of the Belmont Conference are held confidentially and little—beyond an acknowledgement of its occurrence—is published regarding its outcomes. One interview gave this summary of the Conference’s beginnings: Of their volition, six heads of social security equivalent departments of six English-speaking countries, it used to be five but then we discovered the Irish spoke English, formed an informal group and decided to meet annually to meet for three days and just debate in a very open free discussion the trend of policy in those countries. (Interviewee B, Belmont Conference network participant, October 2004)
The format of Belmont was much the same as the Six Countries meeting: discussions were structured to elicit meaningful comparisons and policy issues. Specifically, the issues under consideration resonate with the reforms most prominently associated with NPM. Reflecting the new commitment to active labour markets and mutual obligation across these countries, the 2002 Belmont Conference in Canada, for example, focused on the transition from instruments of income transfers (i.e. government cash handouts) to investment in human capital. An interviewee attending the conference—part of the ancillary staff—observed the following: Even in my short time with them, it was clear that similar program structures and labour market strategies meant that they shared many of the same policy and management problems. They could have a very informed discussion about the design of earned income tax credits/supplements, for example. A lot of “sharing” was going on over meals and at breaks.4 (Interviewee E: Belmont Conference ancillary participant, October 2007)
In the 2006 meeting of the Belmont Conference, which occurred in New Zealand, a similar dynamic was evident. According to the New Zealand Department of Labour, the meeting generated perspectives on ‘social and economic issues affecting labour market participation and resulted in an informal and frank exchange of views on medium to long-term policy developments’.5 The meeting was foregrounded by New Zealand’s high employment and labour market participation, a combination that was the basis of concerns over dwindling supply and diversity of labour. The Conference sought to generate a focus on: ‘boosting labour productivity and the quality of work’; ‘enhancing labour market participation’; and ‘ensuring a more comprehensive and responsive skills base’.6 Subsequently, in April 2009, the heads of departments for social security and labour market policy from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the USA travelled to the UK for what was billed as the Combined Six Countries and Belmont Conference. The themes of this conference reflected the major governance patterns of NPM: ‘private and voluntary sector contract mechanisms’ and ‘efficient service delivery’. The impact of NPM reforms on the ongoing exchange of policy instruments merits further consideration, for, if elite policy-makers actively canvass the views and insights of selected countries, then not only is there evidence of systemic and patterned utilisation of certain labour
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market policy (and welfare policy) ideas, but also these may become selfreinforcing within the Anglosphere and promotor of the same policies beyond: in selecting and privileging ideas taken from Anglo-Saxon countries, this ‘cluster’ of Anglosphere countries may well act as a structural promoter of certain policies. As an example of how this cluster informs the views of one another, the US General Accounting Office, in an exercise to improve ‘performance management’, noted: Our objective for this report was to describe how four OECD member countries—Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom— have begun to use their performance management systems to help their governments achieve results. The experiences of these four countries may prove valuable to federal agencies in the United States as they develop their own initiatives to integrate individual performance with the achievement of organizational goals. (2002, p. 1)
This insight is all the more surprising given that the general feeling amongst the US interviewees participating in this research was that policy transfer was considered by US agencies to be generally benign. Interesting, and perhaps it is significant, Ireland was not included in the study, although Bourgault et al. (1993) note that: Such a system is now widely used for the annual appraisal of senior managers in Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, and in the United States (SES category), but it does not affect the most senior level in the hierarchy. (Bourgault et al. 1993, p. 74, emphasis added)
An Insider’s Insights The existence of a network of elite actors exchanging knowledge and experience about labour market policy is potentially extremely significant, because it opens up the possibility of an entirely separate driver of policy transfer (as well as policy diffusion and convergence) that has, thus far, escaped the attentions of academics. I was able to obtain an interview with a senior official in the Canadian Department of Human Resources and Social Development. This official was able to give an insider’s perspective on the Belmont Conference (all quotes taken from an interview with the author, 30 October 2007). According to this interviewee, the Belmont Conference came out of informal relationships formed in the OECD:
The corridors of the OECD in Paris are full of discussions, and things like that. When I go to Paris I will very likely have lunch or dinner -very informally- with Australia, New Zealand, whoever is around, very often the UK and the US. And we’re going to have lunch or dinner and we’re going to talk about all sorts of things, and we’re going to start exchanging ideas. This is how Belmont was born. In the corridors and nice restaurants around the OECD.
The ongoing bi-annual conference was intended to help senior policy officials ‘float’ policy ideas with like-minded officials. The official explained that the six countries shared a very specific idea of their use of policy: We have similar political regimes. And I think that’s very, very important. Above all, we have a mentality: we use legislation as a last resort, as opposed to Europeans who use legislation front and centre. That differentiates us a great deal from the others.
The official echoed many of the sentiments expressed by interviewees in Australia (see above) specifically highlighting the informal nature of the Conference: people are asked to do a country update presentation for each country for twenty minutes and will talk about what’s new since the last time they met. Then there’ll be some questions or comments around that. Then they may address big issues like how do we ensure full participation of unemployed people in the workforce. And that will be a major theme and each country will highlight the particular initiatives that they have adopted or thinking of adopting in their countries. This is a place where you can talk about something that you’re thinking about. Normally you can’t talk about that. If I go to the OECD I will not talk about the fact that we are right now developing a paper on family policy. Because that paper has not received any kind of approval from any political level. But if I go to a place like [the Belmont Conference] I will be able to mention that.
This informal environment is intended to foster a greater exchange of ideas and experiences. Indeed, it is not simply a ‘talking shop’. The official saw the Conference as a means by which each country could compare and contrast their country’s policies with others. Moreover, the experiences gleaned contributed to active subsequent policy learning:
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What we did there was, I guess, we found out that more or less we were thinking alike. It’s very bizarre. I’m not that this actually creates the exchange of policy per se. I would say it is one way of doing this. Most importantly, I think it is a way of getting people to meet and see how different or similar their policies are. If they’re similar they find reassurance. If they are different then they decide whether they will assess whether they like it. Or, if they don’t, and then they see further whether the political situation is good enough, then they will pursue that. It’s mostly for getting together and discussing openly and then afterwards […] would decide to go to Australia or Australia would decide to come visit us because of what they have seen.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Conference was that it established personal relationships. The official noted that: ‘we use it mostly to build relationships’. Indeed, over the three-day Conference, the interviewee observed that: ‘I’d just say they [the policy officials] bonded. We get them together and they become friends’. The resultant flow of ideas led to active policy transfers. However, often these transfers of policy were deliberately repackaged for reasons of political expediency: I must confess to you that, for Australia, we did exchange a lot on matters of operation. They have Centrelink, and I know that our operation people here are fascinated by what’s happening in Australia. I’ll be frank with you, sometimes with policies in Australia they have such a blunt way of proposing their ideas that we have to be very careful. We couldn’t propose the ideas they are proposing the same way in Canada… They talk about outsourcing, which is something which is totally unpalatable here to [the Labor Party]. Whereas if we refer to NGOs -which is exactly what it is, basically- and third party delivery closer to the community, that becomes much more acceptable.
In addition, this interviewee offered an interesting and highly significant insight into the influence of this group of six countries. Rather than confining policy discussions to the participants, the official claimed that they also use collective pressure to influence the agenda of the OECD: I wouldn’t say we create ideas, I think you can set a trend. And these trends are synergetic: it’s like water, it’s very difficult to describe where the river becomes a ‘fleuve’ [trans: ‘estuary’]. For instance, you say “well, we’re pretty strong. The six of us think that it is much better to encourage people to find work and to provide training”. And then some of us will
go to the OECD and we’ll push on the OECD and influence the OECD agenda, and then five years after you’ll see that the OECD in the job strategy is pushing hard for this type of approach.
Although it is not clear whether such pressure is rooted in any specific material interest, it is certainly significant that such collective pressure can be brought to bear upon the OECD. This underlines the importance of the Belmont Conference as not only a policy transfer network amongst the Anglosphere, but also in setting international trends. When pressed to explain why this may be so, the official responded: ‘It’s not a secret or confidential- it’s something that is kept in a great deal of informality’. The informal approach adopted by participants in this Conference has, accordingly, generated very few papers or documents that might record some of the issues with which it previously dealt. The Windsor Conference, UK 2009 In recognition of the overlaps between the issues and portfolios of employment and social welfare policy, the Belmont Conference and Six Countries meeting combined as the Windsor Conference in the UK in April 2009. The impetus to combine the two networks was led by Peter Hughes, of New Zealand, Jeffrey Harmer, of Australia, and Leigh Lewis of the UK. The combined conference, held in London and Stratfordupon-Avon in April 2009, sought to combine the two networks and discuss the issues presented to social security, welfare and the labour market by the global financial crisis and, specifically, the impact on youth training and employment. The combined conference produced its first substantive combined output: an information-sharing agreement to tackle benefit fraud. The ‘Windsor Arrangement for Mutual Co-operation on Benefit Fraud Between Heads of Department of the Six Countries’7 (hereafter the ‘Windsor Arrangement’) is a non-binding accord: a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’, according to one interviewee (Interviewee A, June 2012). In the first public acknowledgement of the WCPN, a UK press release stated that the aim of the information-sharing agreement was to ‘achieve stronger prevention, earlier detection and effective deterrence of benefit fraud’.8 The press release described the Windsor Arrangement as an agreement on sharing of intelligence and risk profiling related to benefit fraud and included an ambiguously-worded commitment to ‘work together… to
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determine the scope for carrying out investigations and enforcement for each other…’. The Agreement was described by the Australian Government as ‘a cooperative agreement between Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America to work together on a program to increase collective protection against benefit fraud’.9 The UK DWP Permanent Secretary, Leigh Lewis, stated that: ‘This arrangement will ensure each country works together more systematically and, in turn, increase our individual and collective protection against those who seek to defraud our benefit systems’.10 The Windsor Arrangement marked a watershed in the nature of the policy network. Up until 2009, the focus of the Six Countries and Belmont Conference meetings was to share ideas, experiences and policy. The Windsor Arrangement indicates a new direction of regulatory cooperation. The exchange of data pertaining to benefit fraud implies the disclosure of individuals’ personal information to overseas agencies, albeit as the details of the agreement are not in the public domain it is not possible to be certain of the extent or detail of the data exchange. Certainly, the Windsor Arrangement is an indication that the WCPN has turned full circle: the initial Six Countries network was set up with the intention of sharing knowledge on constructing IT systems to support social services. The Windsor Arrangement represents a transition from sharing knowledge about data management to sharing data itself. There is little more information available to the public.11 Since 2009, the Windsor Conference has continued biennially, in Sydney (2013), Vancouver (2015), Dublin (2017) and London (2019). In its latest iteration, the UK’s DWP Permanent Secretary Peter Schofield described the latest meeting: My opposite numbers from New Zealand, Australia, the US, Canada and Ireland came together to hear how other countries tackle their respective challenges, and hopefully learn from them. This year, I hosted the biannual conference and it was a fantastic experience to have happen in the UK and with the Department for Work and Pensions. We were able to visit a jobcentre and show the great work of our colleagues – disseminating and taking on knowledge, and working across traditional boundaries.
The Windsor Conference Network Features and Dynamics This next section reports the insights of senior policy officials interviewed in the course of this research. In the course of interviews, the chief concern was to acquire insights into the dynamics of the WCPN and its participants. Below, I set out some of the prominent findings: (i) the value of confidential policy learning and (ii) the importance of common institutional/cultural characteristics. (i) Inside the black box: the value of confidential policy learning Primarily, the Windsor Conference policy network is regarded as ‘a framework to interact and talk about what worked and what did not’ (Interviewee A, June 2012). The learning value of the network to participants was widely expressed in interviews and published data. In a verbal exchange with the Parliament of Ireland Committee of Public Accounts, Rody Molloy, the Former Director-General of Foras Áiseanna Saothair (Training and Employment Authority) of Ireland, said of the Belmont Conference: ‘We exchange experiences in an up-front way and try to learn from each other’s mistakes or successes. It has been extraordinarily useful to us in terms of devising labour market policy’12 (2008). The meetings occur in a strictly informal setting and are not minuted: You don’t know about this because people don’t want you to know about these things. It’s informal… We do use the Chatham [House] rules. We don’t publish anything for public consumption or anything like that. We see this as a very informal network where people can talk as freely as possible. (Interviewee C: Belmont Conference ancillary participant, November 2007)
The exchange of ideas and documents in this setting is regarded as confidential and, as emphasised by another interviewee, highly valued: They’re not formalised, they’re not approved by government, except that the ministers would know that the secretary goes and would approve his travel. So, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. would meet. I went to two of those in my period as Secretary of XXXX.13 Very very rich exchange of experiences, policies, documents, etc. (Interviewee B, October 2004)
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Discussions within the network over individual policy experiences were seen to serve two purposes: first, to create a comparative context in which officials can make sense of their own operating environment in relation to that of their peers and second, to initiate bilateral policy learning, where valid lessons/ideas seem valuable. One official noted the following: What we did there was, I guess, we found out that more or less we were thinking alike. It’s very bizarre. I’m not saying that this actually creates the exchange of policy per se. I would say it is one way of doing this. Most importantly, I think it is a way of getting people to meet and see how different or similar their policies are. If they’re similar they find reassurance. If they are different then they decide whether they will assess whether they like it. Or, if they don’t, and then they see further whether the political situation is good enough, then they will pursue that. It’s mostly for getting together and discussing openly and then afterwards [XXX] would decide to go to Australia or Australia would decide to come visit us because of what they have seen. (Interviewee C, November 2007)
The formation of strong personal connections within the network is regarded as a crucial element in forming collaborations. One interviewee stated that ‘Collaboration comes from trust and trust comes from knowing someone’ (Interviewee F: Six Countries meeting participant, June 2012). The same interviewee imparted a brief anecdote to underline the importance of cohesion and collaboration to the network. At the 2004 conference meeting in Ireland, one of the social policy mandarins of the Six Countries meeting tasked his deputy to attend the meeting in his/her stead. The other network members, keen to ensure the fidelity of the network to its purpose as a meeting of mandarins, subsequently sought out and obtained personal assurances from the absentee mandarin that he/she would attend the following meeting, in New Zealand in 2006. (ii) Common institutional characteristics The countries involved in the WCPN share a set of common features, although not equally. All are common law countries, share a Commonwealth background and speak English as the primary language of society and government. From these factors, much else might be derived: common social values, political ethos, popular culture and so on. The
common political mindset was a dynamic noted by one of the interviewees of this study: We have similar political regimes. And I think that’s very very important. Above all, we have a mentality: we use legislation as a last resort, as opposed to Europeans who use legislation front and centre. That differentiates us a great deal from the others. It’s that you’ve got a problem, that you can see it in other countries, but it’s got to be a country that’s sufficiently similar to you that the solution is going to make sense… You’ve got to find an ethos that is compatible with yours for political reasons, but also for socio-political reasons; it’s got to be acceptable in society, it’s got to have legitimacy… So you’re selective, and that brings you back to a very narrow socio-economic group which probably clones policies all over. (Interviewee B, October 2004)
There is nuance to the traits shared by Anglosphere countries. Some of these traits can be regarded as a priori; that is, they are independent variables from which others emanate. These are mainly historical characteristics. As noted above, the comparability and compatibility of policy are a key prerequisite of transgovernmental policy learning, especially with respect to reforms to the delivery of public services that had occurred across the participating states. For example, an ancillary participant in the Belmont Conference observed this dynamic: it was clear that similar program structures and labour market strategies meant that they shared many of the same policy and management problems. They could have a very informed discussion about the design of earned income tax credits/supplements, for example. A lot of “sharing” was going on over meals and at breaks. (Interviewee E, October 2007)
It is noteworthy that out of all the Anglosphere countries, the USA exhibits the fewest common third-tier political or institutional factors. The US political system represents an exception amongst the Anglosphere countries insofar as is not derived from the Westminster model. One interviewee noted that, in general, US policy organs operate in relative isolation from overseas influences: ‘the Americans never join us. They are very isolated: don’t allow foreigners into the government’. Yet, the WCPN policy network was a notable exception to the rule. The same interviewee went on to state, ‘So, to have the American head of social security come to this six-country thing, and participate actively and freely,
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was a coup and it was valuable’ (Interviewee B, October 2004). Another interviewee concurred with this view: Now, again, the United States have had a lot of public evaluations but to give you exposure to what they’re thinking internally is a bit of a rare event. It is always a bit of an exciting episode to see what the Americans are thinking internally because they’re not open. (Interviewee A, May 2012)
The access to US internal policy thinking underlines how the WCPN operated as a substantively different sort of policy learning for the Anglosphere officials involved in the network. Moreover, it suggests that even policy officials are unable to peer inside the so-called black box of policy-making of overseas countries. Dynamics of the Windsor Conference Policy Network a. From patrimonial to familial: key characteristics of the network Insofar as it is possible to derive a complete picture of the WCPN at this point, there are some characteristics that are apparent. As suggested in Chapter 4, several structural and institutional levels of linkage are important. A first-order similarity is derived from a common British heritage (albeit with varying degrees of influence). Second-order common characteristics bestowed by the colonial era—such as culture, language, and political ethos—resonate to this day, yet the balance of power has shifted considerably. No longer can the UK be regarded as a patrimonial figure amongst Anglosphere countries; rather, the relationship should more appropriately be regarded as one of a shared identity. This relationship in the WCPN is predicated on five concords: (i) knowledge, a broadly agreed understanding of what constitutes relevant evidence; (ii) peer mutuality, a mutual recognition that each participant is an institutional peer; (iii) public administrative philosophy, an implicit agreement of the objectives and underpinning assumptions of democratic government; (iv) bureaucratic savoir-faire, a shared articulation of institutional language, processes and protocols; (v) policy issues, agreement on the challenges and threats facing their policy portfolio.
b. The WCPN’s dynamics of policy transfer The WCPN is the first identified example of systematic policy learning—in social policy, welfare policy, labour market policy—between Anglophone countries since 1989. The WCPN’s founding rationale was to provide a forum in which mandarins could exchange policy ideas. The interviews reported above provide a number of policy areas where this was in fact the case including: active labour markets, welfare to work, disability, youth unemployment and benefit fraud. The dynamics of learning and transfer are underpinned by the six concords identified above: (i) knowledge, the communication and exchange of data on policy outcomes; (ii) peer mutuality, bilateral discussions via telephone or email or face-to-face meetings; (iii) public administrative philosophy; (iv) bureaucratic savoirfaire, sharing of internal policy documents and reviews; (v) policy issues, identification of emerging issues and transmission of possible remedies. c. The WCPN regulatory dynamics Prior to the 2009 combined conference, the Six Countries and the Belmont Conference’s primary purpose was to share policy ideas, experiences and outcomes. Essentially, these networks operated to augment the knowledge capital of its participants. With the amalgamation in 2009 to become the Windsor Conference and the announcement of an information-sharing agreement to combat benefit fraud, the networks transformed into a quasi-regulatory network. Operating beyond the boundaries of traditional sovereign foreign policy organs, the participating institutions have created and occupied an international foreign policy space, albeit one structured by a non-binding agreement. Conceptually, the prima facie conclusion is that we might regard the WCPN as two sides of the same coin: on one side, a policy learning and transfer body; on the other, an international quasi-regulatory mechanism. Although the WCPN has maintained its founding raison d’être as a mechanism of policy learning, the Windsor Agreement demonstrates that transgovernmental regulatory functions are not only a possibility but also a reality.
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Part II: Flourishing Collaboration---Policy Networks of the Anglosphere Since the establishment of the Belmont and Windsor conference s/networks discussed above, an extraordinary architecture of Anglosphere network collaboration has developed. This second section elaborates on the flourishing levels of collaboration to have emerged subsequent to the WCPN. Between 2001 and as of June 2020, thirty-six Anglosphere policy transfer networks have been established. This includes approximately 140 departments, agencies or regulatory authorities and around 1500 Anglosphere policy officials. These networks are active across a variety of portfolios, outlined in Table 7.1. Linked to the Belmont and Windsor networks are the Six Countries Benefit Fraud Group (which is the Windsor network that governs the ‘Windsor Arrangement’) and the International Heads of Child Support Meeting. The networks are led by elite domestic officials: ministers, secretaries and CEOs. They address cross-border policy challenges around social policy, finance and economics, employment, justice, policing, public administration, security challenges and more. As informal vehicles of transgovernmental collaboration, these networks operate at varying levels and intensities of engagement. As with the WCPN, networks operate continually/periodically as channels of government coordination amongst the five states. They establish shared ‘five country’ policy narratives (e.g. countering violent extremism, critical infrastructure protection), pool institutional functions (e.g. immigration and border protection), synchronise policy (cyber-security; mutual assistance on extradition), transfer best practices (e.g. counter-terrorism) and undertake real-time sharing of information and intelligence (e.g. immigration fraud; cyber-security). New technologies facilitate this collaboration, including video-conferencing, shared secure databases and email, in addition to in situ annual conferences, secondments and embedding of senior officials (see Legrand 2015, 2016). There is active policy collaboration across (i) justice, (ii) immigration and borders, (iii) national security and beyond. In law and justice, the Anglosphere’s chief law officers have established a ‘Quintet of AttorneysGeneral’, which is linked to policing policy networks, including the ‘Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group’; ‘Criminal Intelligence Advisory Group’; ‘Money Laundering Group’; and the ‘Cyber Crime Working
Table 7.1 Transgovernmental policy networks of the Anglosphere Policy domain
Transgovernmental networks (all are self-styled titles)
Quintet of Attorneys-General (Justice) & Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group: ‘Criminal Intelligence Advisory Group’; ‘Money Laundering Group’; ‘Cyber Crime Working Group’; ‘Technical Working Group’; ‘Going Dark Forum’ Five Country Ministerial; The Critical Five; Technical Cooperation Program; The Ottawa Five; Heads of Assessment meeting; The Ministerial Summit (Veterans affairs) Five Country Conference: Border Five; Migration Five; Five Nations Consular Colloque; Five Countries Passport Group (and Five Nations Passport Conference); Five Country Citizenship Conference; Data Sharing Working Group (Biometrics); FCC Resettlement Network; FCC Returns and Repatriation Network; FCC Training & Change The Windsor Conference (previously “The Six Nations”) & Six Nations Benefit Fraud Conference; International Heads of Child Support Agency Meeting; Health Ministers Conference Intergovernmental Immigrant and Refugee Health Working Group Fraud and anti-corruption network (Inspectors-General of Defence); International Supervisors forum (Anti-money laundering regulators); Tri-Treasury Conference & The Rev-Sec Group (Taxation); Vancouver Group (Intellectual Property); Four Countries Conference (Elections)
Security and public safety
Borders and migration
Development and international aid Statutory and regulatory agencies
Group’. In immigration and border policy, a ‘Five Country Conference’ was established in 2008 and has since fragmented into strategic policy and operational networks, including the Migration 5 (or ‘M5’, which is concerned with immigration policy); the ‘Border Five’ (or ‘B5’, which collaborates on customs and excise policy). In addition, there are a Five Nations Passport Conference (the Five Countries Passport Group)
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and Five Country Citizenship Conference, both of which are associated with immigration policy. Several national security policy networks have also emerged: the ‘Five Country which is associated with other networks concerned with critical infrastructure (‘the Critical Five’) and cyber-security (‘The Ottawa Five’)’. A Shared Vision of Anglosphere Transgovernmentalism Running through this growing raft of Anglosphere policy networks are repeated claims of shared identity that pivots on themes of a common history, values and traditions, friendship, and alikeness of peoples. Public declarations—usually in joint communiques or in speeches given after the conclusion of network meetings—reveal the shared construction of an Anglosphere identity underpinning the relationship. US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in 2011 stated ‘As allies and economic partners, our five countries have a successful history of cooperation’.14 Then, in a Five Country Ministerial (FCM) in 2013, Napolitano described the five countries’ ‘unique relationship with one another’, with core common touchstones: ‘We are all are democracies, we share the same language, we have strong economies, and we also have engaged citizens who expect action and accountability from their governments’.15 After a subsequent network meeting, US Attorney General Eric Holder reinforced Napolitano’s perspective, claiming: ‘These ties transcend parties and governments in each of our nations and they are not just partnerships with leaders, but they are partnerships of our peoples’.16 A joint communique from the FCM in 2018 gave collective voice from all five states: Our history of cooperation, our shared values, and our enduring friendship provide solid foundations to face the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century together.17
A statement from a 2016 meeting acclaims the five countries as, ‘Collectively, we are among the most generous countries on earth’.18 It underlines too the ‘close and enduring five country partnership’,19 and their ‘cooperation, friendship, and common values’.20 This is frequently framed in historic terms: Napolitano describes ‘a successful history of cooperation’,21 and ‘historic Five Eyes security’,22 whilst UK Home Secretary
Theresa May affirms ‘the deepest, longest lasting security relationship in the world’.23 A second dimension of rhetoric hails the common ‘traditions’ and ‘values’ of the five countries. A communique from the Five Country Ministerial in 2017, for example, affirms ‘our deep commitment to the shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law’.24 After one ‘Quintet’ meeting, Canada’s Attorney General Rob Nicholson in 2011 stated that: ‘We all share common challenges, common problems and we come from a tradition of working these things out, collaborating and working with each other’.25 Robert McClelland, the Attorney General for Australia in 2011, affirmed that view: ‘we’re able to get some very constructive outcomes given our common traditions and our backgrounds in so many other areas that we cooperate in’.26 In a subsequent media release, McClelland asserted that the Quintet’s success was due to ‘the perspective of a shared legal tradition and common values’.27 Empirically, the active exchange of policy ideas and experiences relating to welfare, labour market and social policy by the WCPN since 1989 has clear implications for much of the literature on the transfer of public policy (see, for example, inter alia, Dolowitz and Marsh 2000; Stone 2003; Daguerre 2004; Banks et al. 2005; Hulme 2005, 2006). In the background of the processes and mechanisms of policy transfer described by these scholars in the 1990s, 2000s and beyond, the WCPN was in operation as a structural conduit of policy learning between Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and USA. The network adds an important dimension to these existing analyses and offers an array of alternative explanations of policy exchange.
Conclusion Much of the literature concerned with the underpinning model or framework of policy transfer analysis focuses on the process by which transfers occur. In part, this is a corollary of the definition offered by the progenitors of the policy transfer approach, Dolowitz and Marsh, who regard policy transfer as ‘the process by which knowledge about policies, administrative arrangements, institutions and ideas’ of one political system is used elsewhere (my emphasis, 2000, p. 5). Evans and Davies (1999) and Evans (2009) undertook theoretical development of policy transfer analysis that strengthened the spatial dynamics of the model with a ‘multi-level analysis’ of policy transfer. In particular, they imputed a model that recognised
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the importance of international, transnational, domestic and interorganisational dynamics and called for empirical work to determine the link between transfer and internationalisation (1999, p. 365). The case study presented in this chapter goes some way to providing that empirical link and, further, to emphasising the utility of the transgovernmental approach for policy transfer analysis. The activity and mechanisms of the WCPN indicate that there have been systematic social and labour market policy learning and exchange between Anglosphere institutions over the period 1989 to present. Few analysts identify policy learning between more than two countries and even fewer identify systemic multilateral policy learning to the extent identified herein. This WCPN has clear repercussions for current knowledge pertaining to how labour market and social policy within and amongst Anglosphere countries have developed over this period. Simply put, narratives and analyses of labour market and social policy are incomplete without consideration of how elite policy officials have learnt from one another in the manner of the WCPN. In addition, the formulation of the WCPN itself reveals a great deal about the philosophy of public administration shared by Anglosphere countries members. The pattern of policy learning indicates an underlying governance affinity that reaches back to the common history shared by Anglosphere countries. Indeed, it seems increased internationalisation—greater global integration and codependency, convenient international travel and communication—has amplified the shared heritage of the Anglosphere countries and widened the prospect for institutional and policy cooperation. Interviews Interviewee A: Interviewee B: Interviewee C: Interviewee D: Interviewee E: Interviewee F:
Six Countries meeting participant (May and June 2012) Belmont Conference network participant (October 2004) Belmont Conference ancillary network participant (November 2007) Six Countries meeting participant (June 2012) Belmont Conference ancillary network participant (October 2007) Six Countries meeting participant (June 2012)
Notes 1. The second stream of the first Six Countries meeting in 1989 focused on common issues, challenges and experiences in the IT architecture of social security administration. This sub-network subsequently took a similar form to that of its parent network and undertook an iterative collaboration exchanging ideas on practices and protocols. 2. United Kingdom—Department of Social Security: Sir Michael Partridge, KCB, Permanent Secretary; Mr. Nick Montagu, Deputy Secretary, Resource Management and Planning Group; Mr. Alec Wylie, Chief Executive, Social Security Agency, Northern Ireland. Australia—Department of Social Security: Mr. Derek Volker, AO, The Secretary; Mr. Jim Humphreys, National Manager, Operations; Dr. Owen Donald, First Assistant Secretary, Social Policy Division. Canada—Department of National Health and Welfare: Mrs. Margaret Catley-Carlson, Deputy Minister; Mr. John Soar, Assistant Deputy Minister, Income Security Programs Branch; Mr. Ray Laframboise, Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Management Branch. New Zealand—Department of Social Welfare: Mr. Robin J. Wilson, Deputy Director-General; Mr. Alan Nixon, Assistant Director-General, Programmes and Services. United States of America --Social Security Administration: Mr. Louis D. Enoff, Principal Deputy Commissioner; Ms. Janice Warden, Deputy Commissioner for Operations; Mr. Renato A. DiPentima, Deputy Commissioner for Systems [Mrs. Geraldine Novak, Director, International Activities Staff Mrs. Gertrude Wiggins, International Activities Staff]. 3. Figure taken from Hansard: Written Answers to Questions, Thursday 14 November 1991: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm1 99192/cmhansrd/1991-11-14/Writtens-1.html, accessed June 2012. 4. Correspondence with author, October 2007. 5. Taken from the New Zealand Department of Labour, Working Better: Annual Report for the Year Ended 30 June 2007 . http://www.dol.govt. nz/publications/general/soi2007/11goals1.html, accessed 12th April 2012. 6. Taken from the New Zealand Department of Labour, Working Better: Annual Report for the Year Ended 30 June 2007 . http://www.dol.govt. nz/publications/general/soi2007/11goals1.html, accessed 12th April 2012. 7. Signed by Heads of Department from: The Department of Human Services of Australia, the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development of Canada, The Department of Social and Family Affairs of Ireland, The Ministry of Social Development of New Zealand, The Department for Work and Pensions of the United Kingdom and The Social Security Administration of the United States of America.
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8. Press release, Department of Work and Pensions, April 2009. http:// www.dwp.gov.uk/previous-administration-news/press-releases/2009/ april-2009/126-09-300409.shtml, accessed June 2012. 9. Taken from: http://www.humanservices.gov.au/spw/corporate/publicati ons-and-resources/annual-report/resources/1011/html/centrelink/cha pter09/part08_compliance_and_fraud.html, accessed June 2012. 10. Press release, Department of Work and Pensions, April 2009. http:// www.dwp.gov.uk/previous-administration-news/press-releases/2009/ april-2009/126-09-300409.shtml, accessed June 2012. 11. The Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations declined a request for release of further information on the Windsor Arrangement. 12. Taken from http://debates.oireachtas.ie/ACC/2008/12/04/printa ll.asp, accessed June 2012. 13. Obscured to retain anonymity. 14. Janet Napolitano. July 22, 2013. 15. Janet Napolitano. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s Opening Remarks at the Five Country Ministerial. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. July 22, 2013. https://www.dhs.gov/news/2013/ 07/22/secretary-homeland-security-janet-napolitano-s-opening-remarksfive-country. 16. Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General. ‘Quintet’ of Attorneys-General— Joint Press Conference. 15th July 2011. Available at: http://justinian. com.au/storage/pdf/agsquintet.pdf. 17. Five Country Ministerial 2018 Official Communiqué. Australian Department of Home Affairs. Accessed: 8th September 2017. Available at: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about/national-security/fivecountry-ministerial-2018. 18. Five Country Ministerial 2018 Official Communiqué. Accessed: 8th September 2017. 19. Five Country Ministerial 2018 Official Communiqué. Accessed: 8th September 2017. 20. Five Country Ministerial 2017: Joint Communiqué. 28th June 2017. Accessed: 20th January 2018. Available at: https://www.dhs.gov/news/ 2017/06/28/five-country-ministerial-2017-joint-communiqu. 21. Janet Napolitano. July 22, 2013. 22. Home Secretary attends Five Country Ministerial. 29 August 2018. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-secretary-attendsfive-country-ministerial. 23. Theresa May, U.K. Home Secretary. International action needed to tackle terrorism. 16 February 2016. https://www.gov.uk/government/ speeches/home-secretary-international-action-needed-to-tackle-terrorism. 24. Five Country Ministerial 2017: Joint Communiqué. 28th June 2017.
25. Rob Nicholson, Canada Attorney General. ‘Quintet’ of AttorneysGeneral—Joint Press Conference. 15th July 2011. Available at: http:// justinian.com.au/storage/pdf/agsquintet.pdf. 26. Robert McClelland, Australia Attorney-General. ‘Quintet’ of AttorneysGeneral—Joint Press Conference. 15th July 2011. Available at: http:// justinian.com.au/storage/pdf/agsquintet.pdf. 27. Robert McClelland, Attorney-General (Cth), ‘Key Allies Focus on Cyber Crime at Sydney “Quintet”’ (Media Release, 5 July 2011).
References Banks, J., Disney, R., Duncan, A., & Van Reenen, J. (2005). The internationalisation of public welfare policy. The Economic Journal, 115(502), C62–C81. Bourgault, J., Dion, S., & Lemay, M. (1993). Creating a corporate culture: Lessons from the Canadian federal government. Public Administration Review, 53(1), 73–80. Daguerre, A. (2004). Importing workfare: Policy transfer of social and labour market policies from the USA to Britain under new labour. Social Policy & Administration, 38(1), 41–56. Dolowitz, D. P., & Marsh, D. (2000). Learning from abroad: The role of policy transfer in contemporary policy-making. Governance-an International Journal of Policy and Administration, 13(1), 5–24. Retrieved from < Go to ISI > ://WOS:000085236800002. Evans, M. (2009). Policy transfer in critical perspective. Policy Studies, 30(3), 243–268. Retrieved from < Go to ISI > ://WOS:000207937300002. Evans, M., & Davies, J. (1999). Understanding policy transfer: A multilevel, multi-disciplinary perspective. Public Administration, 77 (2), 361–385. Retrieved from < Go to ISI > ://WOS:000081848100007. Hulme, R. (2005). Policy transfer and the internationalisation of social policy. Social policy and society, 4(4), 417. Hulme, R. (2006). The role of policy transfer in assessing the impact of American ideas on British social policy. Global Social Policy, 6(2), 173–195. Legrand, T. (2015). Transgovernmental policy networks in the Anglosphere. Public Administration, 93(4), 973–991. Legrand, T. (2016). Elite, exclusive and elusive: transgovernmental policy networks and iterative policy transfer in the Anglosphere. Policy Studies, 37 (5), 440–455. Stone, D. (2003). The “knowledge bank” and the global development network. Global Governance, 9(1), 43–61. https://doi.org/10.1163/19426720-009 01005.
Conclusion: The Architecture of Policy Transfer in the Anglosphere---A Networked Present and Future
This book has set out to explore the rapidly changing patterns of international policy transfer and to gain insight into how the Anglosphere nations in particular have forged a distinct architecture of mutual learning and collaboration. The opening pages framed the challenge for us, as scholars and citizens, as one essentially rooted in the public interest motivation of the (liberal democratic) state: How are decisions made, on which issues, by whom, how and with what effect? Elusive as the concept of the public interest might be, it remains central to those from a liberal democratic tradition that the public have visibility of the decisions made and actions undertaken by their governments and public servants, without which accountability is cut off at the knees. And so the analysis in the preceding pages has sought to illuminate a modest part of contemporary policy decision-making: the age-old question of from where policy-makers draw their best, or worst, ideas.
Beyond Policy Transfer In its early iterations, the policy transfer framework was used as a heuristic to answer these questions. To understand the processes by which policies are transmitted between jurisdictions and across the international terrain, its early protagonists showed how policy transfers operate as multi-level phenomena, driven by agents, occurring at and between several levels, © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 T. Legrand, The Architecture of Policy Transfer, Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55821-5
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including local, regional, national, transnational and international (Evans and Davies 1999). These showed how, normatively, the benefits were manifold: policy transfer can be used as a beneficial technique of public administration: overseas experience can be used to engineer rapid policy change, to forestall the unintended consequences of untested policies, or enhance inter-state cooperation. The lessons drawn can be negative as well as positive; the policies drawn might be a direct copy, an emulation, hybrid or ‘inspiration’; learning might occur at any stage of the (domestic) policy process; and be initiated by elected officials, policy officials, policy entrepreneurs, international organisations and NGOs, interest groups or any other suitably empowered actor (Dolowitzand Marsh 2000; Ladi 2005). On the global stage, scholars showed that a policy transfer perspective was integral to depicting the pressure that the IMF can bring to bear on states by attaching policy conditions to financial aid (Pal and Ireland 2009); to identify the combination of coercion, norms and mimetics used by the EU to achieve ‘technocratic legitimacy’ of its policy ambitions (Radaelli 2000); and to identify transnational policy communities which generate ‘common patterns of understanding’ (Stone 2001). These approaches leave little doubt of the powerful influence of non-domestic policy ideas on states, international organisations and supranational organisations. Yet lacking to date has been a deeper insight into the selectivity of policy ideas; why some states tend to look consistently to particular countries for policy lessons. Both the policy transfer and transgovernmentalism literatures have made a fundamental contribution to our conceptual understanding of the policy interplay of state and non-state actors, though it has been my contention that both literatures have yet to adequately explain why certain configurations of transnational policy relationships emerge. Reconciling both frameworks, as presented here, can generate stronger insights into global governance policy processes and, specifically, into the proliferation of transgovernmental networks. Engaging with this puzzle, we have explored one of the oldest, most active, and perhaps most resilient, of transgovernmental alliances active in the global governance space: the ‘Anglosphere’ countries of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. As we have seen, at the heart of this alliance is a manifest historical, cultural and political affinity, which plays out in a complex raft of social, economic and policy relationships amongst and between the Anglosphere states. The previous three chapters have been empirically
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focused on the case study at hand—the evolution of New Public Management and its stimulation of policy networking behaviours, and Third Way ideas in shaping labour market policy across the Anglosphere. This is set out in some detail with a concern for highlighting the linkages between the structures at play and the agents who operate therein.
Operationalising the Architecture of the Anglosphere framework In Chapter 3, I outline the conceptual framework of transgovernmental policy network formation and how they are sustained. This framework operates as three theoretical levels to depict how transgovernmental relationships emerge within a structural environment: • Level 1. Structural: Political-Cultural Propinquity • Level 2. Emergent: Institutional-Ideological Networks • Level 3. Agential Articulation. Level 1. Structural: Political-Cultural Propinquity As outlined conceptually in Chapter 4 and articulated empirically in Chapter 7, the Anglosphere states have coalesced as a partnership of ‘likeminded’ entities with commensurate values, beliefs and political aims. The strength of this affinity articulates as a political-cultural propinquity, in which policy officials (and the publics) of those states identify and assign a priori legitimacy to one another, which manifests in (in this case) preferred transnational collaboration relationships. This is an association that has emerged from long-standing historical alliance and become cemented by both overlapping global policy challenges and commensurate institutional structures most recently (but not exclusively) expressed in New Public Management reforms and latterly as Third Way ideology. Level 2. Emergent: Institutional-Ideological Networks As outlined conceptually in Chapter 3, and empirically in Chapters 6 and 7, policy networks emerge in an environment structured by pre-existing preferences and institutional relationships that make some policy ideas
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more palatable (ideologically) and compatible (institutionally and politically) than others. These are situated within the environment of cultural propinquity—the Anglosphere—and as suggested above, two properties of this context are emergent. The first is the ideological effect of New Public Management and Third Way politics. The growing disaggregation of the state in conjunction with the upsurge in the spread of policy networks precipitated the conditions in which policy transfer and collaboration could occur through transgovernmental networks. Level 3. Agential Articulation Institutions operate as structural constraints or influences on both the preferences of agents and the available opportunities for policy transfer. As Chapter 6 has suggested, agents work within institutions that already have established channels of preferential learning and collaboration, as per epistemic communities that fall into similar ‘geographical, cultural, linguistic and/or political environments’, whether as network or bilateral relationships. Emphasised here have been transgovernmental networks in which agents have forged closer and tighter bonds with their counterparts in their praxis as collaborating policy officials while articulating the same beliefs about their shared Anglosphere history, traditions, outlook, aims and interests.
The Architecture of the Anglosphere This analysis adds to a growing body of work on transgovernmentalism and the Anglosphere. As we have seen, the new-style Anglosphere architectures of policy-making to have emerged in this millennium display considerable conceptual conformity to policy transfer and transgovernmental frameworks. Anglosphere countries have constructed a transgovernmental policy architecture encapsulating a range of national institutions to, first, promote the exchange of policy ideas, information and evidence to address domestic challenges and, second, establish collaborative approaches to meeting transnational challenges. The shared culture, values and norms of these states have, as argued in the preceding pages, been critical to the coalescence of Anglosphere policy networks , which conform to distinct network features. The networks themselves are noteworthy too. Foremostly, it is clear that ‘small group size’ and homogenous preferences are a dominant
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feature of the networks: over two-thirds of the networks identified in Chapter 7 are occupied by the five core Anglosphere states. We might further speculate that the constitution of the networks corresponds with the claim that Anglosphere networks operate to the exclusion of ‘spoiler’ states and generate dominant policy blocs. Certainly, interview evidence from the Belmont Conference reported in Chapter 7 suggests an ‘Anglosphere bloc’ influence on the OECD (though naturally the claim requires substantiation). In addition, the exclusivity and the strategic importance of the networks are underlined by the participation of elite officials: officials from the highest echelons of a department/agency participate in the networks, often at the ministerial level, with evidence of functional delegation to sub-networks. Related to the exclusivity, these networks operate under informal confidentiality where possible: the agenda, proceedings and outcomes are not easily publicly accessible, which aligns with the prevailing view of transgovernmental networks in the international relations literature (Slaughter 2004). Next, within the Anglosphere policy networks, the levels of policy transfer are both valued and varied. The breadth of engagement described above and in the detailed case studies below is suggested as a heuristic of in Fig. 1, which places each Anglosphere networks along a continuum of engagement and sets out the extent to which Anglosphere network has coordinated and shared policies and functions. As suggested by the policy transfer framework, Anglosphere policy officials in, for example, the Windsor Conference and the International Heads of Child Support Agency Meeting, engage in a rich exchange of policy ideas, experience and data, and cooperation agreements on common transnational issues (cf. Dolowitz and Marsh; Legrand 2012a). Additionally, the Four Countries Conference of electoral agencies meets annually to exchange ideas and experiences on domestic policy and not undertake any collaborative actions. Moreover, the Vancouver Group of intellectual property agencies goes even further and has fully integrated their agency functions, processes and protocols to form, effectively, one amalgamated Anglosphere agency. Towards Cultural Coalescence in Transgovernmental Policy Networks The coalescence of Anglosphere officials reveals the importance placed on cultural propinquity, as revealed across participants in the networks. The five statistical agencies of the Anglosphere engage with one another
E.g. Four Countries conference (electoral agencies) E.g. Heads of Agency Meeting (child support agencies)
Agreeing to institute common policy benchmarks
E.g. The Windsor Conference (employment/labour market agencies)
Agreeing Memoranda of Understanding
E.g. The Six Nations (social policy agencies)
Manual exchange of data
E.g. The Migration Five; the Border Five
Automatic data exchange
Fig. 1 Continuum of Anglosphere transgovernmental network engagement
Anglosphere transgovernmental network
Low engagement (Policy transfer)
Exchange of policy ideas and experiences
Continuum of network engagement
E.g. Technical Cooperation Program (military and intelligence agencies)
Amalgamation of governance functions High engagement (Functional integration)
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because of what the ABS describes as ‘cultural, language and historical commonalities’,1 and a participating official of the Belmont Conference stated: ‘We have similar political regimes. And I think that’s very, very important’. This coalescence of transgovernmental networks suggests a novel mechanism of network coalescence on the landscape of global policy and offers an opportunity to develop a proposition of transgovernmental network membership that, as claimed earlier, remains unexplored in both the policy transfer and transgovernmental literatures, despite comporting with the conceptual frameworks of both. This offers some useful future directions for scholars of policy transfer and transgovernmentalism. Following Wendt (see Chapter 4), we can posit a proposition of Anglosphere network coalescence that frames cultural identity as endogenous and prior to TGN membership and policy transfer relationships. The formation of Anglosphere networks represents a prior consensus on the nature of domestic and transnational policy issues as well as an implied determination to prefer forms of knowledge and partnership stemming from network peers. This perspective complements the prevailing functionalist perspectives of transgovernmentalism and policy transfer by suggesting that, for Anglosphere states, the exogenous imperatives of policy problems are framed a priori by and through transgovernmental networks coalesced by endogenous shared cultural frames. For the moment, this proposition is tempered, as noted above, by the boundary conditions of the study: the veracity of the cultural propinquity proposition is reliant on future confirming (or confounding) additional comparative, historical or even ethnographic research. Framed in this way, the proposition that endogenous cultural factors promote network coalescence strengthens the arm of policy transfer and transgovernmental theorists looking to understand why specific configurations of policy networks emerge above the state. This perspective provokes questions for transgovernmental theorists around the existence of other similar transgovernmental configurations globally. The lens of culturally-coalesced transgovernmentalism might equally be applied to long-standing relationships across, for example, Franco-phone, Latin America and Nordic countries. Certainly, the Nordic Council was established in the 1950s to facilitate coordinated policy responses to transnational challenges affecting Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and exhibits the prima facie facets of cultural coalescence suggested here as integral to Anglosphere policy networks. Examination of this, and other similar transnational cultural configurations, is likely to
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furnish stronger conceptual insights into the structure and form of transgovernmental policy networking. The latter question, why the five ‘core’ states dominate these networks to the exclusion of other Anglophone states, provides an opportunity to refine the cultural propinquity proposition. There is a range of Anglophone jurisdictions including, for example, Ireland, South Africa, the Caribbean, India and Pakistan, which conform to many of the same background historical, cultural and political characteristics. Why does the membership of Anglosphere transgovernmental networks identified here not extend to these countries? One possibility is that the post-war military and intelligence collaboration between these states embedded a long-standing mutual trust that permits the Anglosphere to enjoy collective military and intelligence global dominance; or what former NSA analyst Edward Snowden has called a ‘supranational intelligence agency’. The intelligence-sharing and collaboration in resolving transnational issues, such as immigration-related offences, radicalisation and cyber-crime, for example, are manifest in agendas of the Quintet of Attorneys General and the Five Countries Conference.
Transgovernmental Policy Networks in Global Perspective Understanding and tracking how government institutions learn from and network with one another at an international level is a crucial endeavour for public policy scholars. Doing so achieves three things. First, such knowledge can generate better insight into enhancing policy processes—indeed, the pay-off of such research for our policy servants are, at one level, quite clear: systematic policy learning and collaboration provoke some significant ‘goods’ such as enhancing domestic policy capacity, improving the use of evidence and delivering joined-up solutions to common problems. For example, the case study considered herein spans considerable engagement across almost every portfolio of Anglosphere governments, indicating that models of the policy process in each of these countries are incomplete without considering the transgovernmental dimension, especially at the elite level. Second, such research also contributes to the public interest question raised above. The networks discussed in this book raise some profound accountability concerns. With few exceptions, the networks are populated by the most senior echelons of public services, yet the substance of the meetings is almost never made available to the public. And so we might wonder whether the obscurity
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cloaking the networks militates against transparency and accountability for democratic decision-making. This is hardly an original point, but it does reinforce earlier scholars’ views on the subject: The image of national regulators coming together of their own volition and regularizing their interactions either as a network or a networked organization raises the specter of agencies on the loose, unrestrained by democratic accountability. (Slaughter 2004, p. 48)
Third, studying these networks also affords an opportunity to overcome some domestic and international theoretical silos and refine our available concepts. Though the public administration discipline displays an overwhelming emphasis on state-based explanations of policy outcomes, the domestic/international distinction is nothing more than an analytical artifice, or a ‘convenience of the mind’ as Cox puts it (1981, p. 126). Developing interdisciplinary frameworks can promote the valuable enterprise of political science to burrow beneath the often opaque facade of government policy-making to reveal the latent structures, processes, priorities, agents, institutions, imperatives and encumbrances that, together or separately, constitute the state: ‘If our existing map of our institutions and how they work is faulty, we mislead citizens and undermine representative democracy’ (Rhodes et al. 2003, p. 160). This book’s concern has been to enhance our conceptual tools as means of refining our theoretical perspectives on the state. Normatively, this gives ballast to my overarching view that the opacity of the policy processes of global governance means that there is a clear public interest imperative to link domestic ideas of public administration to these emerging above-the-state policy processes. Doing so meets Bob Jessop’s injunction to ‘look beyond the state to examine its embedding within a wider political system, its relationship to other institutional orders and functional systems, and to the lifeworld (or civil society)’ (2004, p. 49). If political science is to maintain a strong theoretical grasp of those fundamental questions of political science—Who governs? How do they govern? For whose benefit do they govern?—it is imperative that we constantly refine and rethink our conceptual tools to pursue the everchanging modalities of public policy decision-making. The rise of Anglosphere transgovernmental policy networks represents a new dimension of global policy-making that, thus far, has managed to evade the attention of political scientists. Here, I have attempted to remedy this omission
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and contribute a conceptualisation of the Anglosphere’s transgovernmentalism by, empirically, mapping out the range of active Anglosphere policy networks and, conceptually, drawing out the role of cultural propinquity in coalescing these networks. As I have argued, reconciling both the policy transfer and transgovernmental frameworks can help overcome the domestic and international artifice. In so doing, I hope to have equipped both frameworks with a stronger insight into culturally-shaped patterns of policy transmission and provided an alternative to the dominant functionalist propositions of why transgovernmentalism networks emerge. While some theorists posit that the ‘new’ transnational regulatory system has emerged as bottomup response to perceived shortfalls in state action (Abbott and Snidal 2009b, p. 510) in which states and international organisations operate as the orchestrators of international regulation developed in collaboration with private actors (2009a, b). Proposed here, by contrast, is a state-based concept of transgovernmentalism that both excludes private actors and sidesteps international organisations, representing a reassertion of domestic autonomy in the global space. Locating these forms of policy-making is critical to our understanding of the processes of contemporary global governance, of which Stone states: ‘Not only do these collective processes of policy transfer or diffusion create new cycles and circuits of interpretation, it also contributes to new architectures of transnational governance’ (Stone 2012, p. 9). The existence and activities of autonomous public officials developing policy away from public scrutiny in new global governance spaces raise larger questions of legitimacy and accountability that, for Eilstrup-Sangiovanni, ‘the more ambiguous (and in some cases secretive) nature of many transgovernmental agreements may reduce domestic pressure by obscuring distributive effects’ (2007, p. 10). It thus remains imperative for public administration scholarship to pay close attention to these emerging global policy spaces. By meeting Jessop’s (2004) injunction to extend domestic policy analysis upwards into the transnational space, we can not only illuminate nascent beyond-the-state decision-making actors, venues and pathways, but also capture more precisely the consequences for domestic public policy outcomes and, in so doing, strengthen the arm of representative democracy.
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Note 1. Taken from http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/productsbyCa talogue/CA17DB8313B95A0BCA257061003172F1?OpenDocument, accessed 10 July 2014.
References Abbott, K. W., & Snidal, D. (2009a). The governance triangle: Regulatory standards institutions and the shadow of the state. In The politics of global regulation (pp. 44–48). Princeton: Princeton University Press. Abbott, K. W., & Snidal, D. (2009b). Strengthening international regulation through transmittal new governance: Overcoming the orchestration deficit. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, 42, 501. Bevir, M., & Rhodes, R. (2003). Interpreting british governance. London: Routledge. Cox, R. W. (1981). Social forces, states and world orders: Beyond international relations theory. Millennium, 10(2), 126–155. Dolowitz, D. P., & Marsh, D. (2000). Learning from abroad: The role of policy transfer in contemporary policy-making. Governance-An International Journal of Policy and Administration, 13(1), 5–24. https://doi.org/10.1111/09521895.00121. Eilstrup-Sangiovanni, M. (2007). Varieties of cooperation: Government networks in international security. Evans, M., & Davies, J. (1999). Understanding policy transfer: A multilevel, multi-disciplinary perspective. Public Administration, 77 (2), 361–385. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9299.00158. Jessop, B. (2004). Multilevel governance and multilevel metagovernance. Changes in the EU as integral moments in the transformation and reorientation of contemporary statehood. Multi-Level Governance, 2, 49–74. Ladi, S. (2005). Globalisation, policy transfer and policy research institutes. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar. Legrand, T. (2012). The merry mandarins of Windsor: Policy transfer and transgovernmental networks in the Anglosphere. Policy Studies, 33(6), 523–540. https://doi.org/10.1080/01442872.2012.722290. Pal, L. A., & Ireland, D. (2009). The public sector reform movement: Mapping the global policy network. International Journal of Public Administration, 32(8), 621–657. https://doi.org/10.1080/01900690903000187. Radaelli, C. M. (2000). Policy transfer in the European Union: Institutional isomorphism as a source of legitimacy. Governance-An International Journal of Policy Administration and Institutions, 13(1), 25–43. https://doi.org/10. 1111/0952-1895.00122.
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Slaughter, A. M. (2004). Disaggregated sovereignty: Towards the public accountability of global government networks. Government and Opposition, 39(2), 159–190. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1477-7053.2004.00119.x. Stone, D. (2001). Learning lessons, policy transfer and the international diffusion of policy ideas. Retrieved from http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/2056. Stone, D. (2012). Transfer and translation of policy. Policy Studies, 33(6), 483– 499. https://doi.org/10.1080/01442872.2012.695933. Wendt, A. (1994). Collective identity formation and the international state. American Political Science Review, 88(2), 384–397. https://doi.org/10. 2307/2944711.
A Anderson, Benedict, 112 Anglosphere and the Commonwealth, xvii, 116 characteristics of, xxv, 124, 206, 224 colonial origins, xvii, 115, 117, 123, 124, 207 Five Eyes, x, 107 network emergence, xv, xxiv, xxv, 124, 129, 193, 194, 197, 202, 207, 209, 211, 220, 221, 223, 226 transgovernmental networks, xxiii, 193, 218, 220, 221, 223, 224 ASEAN, 113 B Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative, 33 Belmont Conference, 186, 188, 194, 197–200, 202–204, 206, 208, 221, 223
Bhaskar, Roy, 58, 73, 74, 76–78 Blair, Tony, 134, 135, 155, 161, 164, 165, 169 British Empire. See Colonialism
C Clinton, Bill, 55, 134, 138–142, 146, 155, 161, 164–169, 187, 189, 190 Coercive, 49, 50 Colonialism, xvi, 115, 117 administrative legacy of, British, xvi, 115 Commonwealth. See Anglosphere Communitarianism, xiv, 135, 136 Community of Portuguese Language Countries - Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, 114 Conditionality, 50 Constructivism, 71, 109 Convergence, 29, 31 Copying, 48
© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 T. Legrand, The Architecture of Policy Transfer, Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55821-5
Critical realism agency and, 58, 78 emergence in, 58, 76 theory, xxv, 72–74
D Davies, J., 25, 41, 61, 83 Digital era governance, xi, xiii, xiv DiMaggio, P.J., 31, 62 Dolowitz, David, xiv, xix, xxi, 14–16, 25–27, 29, 46–51, 57, 61, 62, 82, 83, 86, 87, 162, 169, 212, 218, 221 Dunleavy, Patrick, xi, xiii
E Elite Networking, 31 Emulation, 48 Epistemic communities, 29, 42, 52, 63, 85, 87–96, 220 European Union (EU), 9, 30, 47, 85, 95, 113, 114, 218 Evans, Mark, xiv, xv, xix, xx, 14, 15, 25, 27, 29, 41, 46, 51–56, 60, 61, 63, 83–90, 94–96, 100, 139, 142, 162, 186, 212, 218 Evidence-based policy-making, xiv, xxiv, 137, 147, 161, 163, 165
F Five Country Conference, 210 Border Five, 210 Migration Five, 210 Five Country Ministerial (FCM), 210–212, 215 Five Eyes. See Anglosphere Furlong, P., 51
G Giddens, Anthony, 84, 94, 134, 135, 146 Global financial crisis, 8, 10, 202 Globalisation and interdependency, 6, 8–10, 30, 33, 39, 55 and internationalisation, 33, 54, 84, 85 and transnational challenges, 6, 7, 9, 84, 85
H Haas, Peter, 52, 89–94, 96 Hay, C., 62 Historical institutionalism, 93 Howard, John, 151, 153, 154
I IMF, 15, 47, 48, 54, 185, 218
J James, O., 41, 83 JET Program, 161, 182–184
K Keohane, Robert O., xxiii, 5, 6, 12, 59, 97, 117, 123
L Labour market policy, xv, xxiv, 1, 131, 151, 162, 194, 198, 199, 204, 208, 213, 219 Lesson-drawing, xix, 13, 15, 24, 28, 29, 33, 41, 42, 45–49, 51, 52, 82, 108, 172 Lodge, M., 41, 83
M Marsh, David, xiv, xix, xxi, 14–16, 25–27, 29, 30, 46–52, 57, 62, 83, 86, 87, 121, 162, 212, 218, 221 Meadows, Thomas Taylor, xv, xvi Multi-Level Approach, xx, 52, 86, 87, 89 Mutual Obligation, xxiv, 131, 133, 147, 151–155, 198 Work for the Dole and, 153, 154 N National security, 209 counter-terrorism, x international threats to, xi, 123 NATO, 111 New Deal, The, xxiv, 13, 130, 135, 136, 141, 145–150, 155, 161, 164, 169–171, 173–176, 184, 187 New Democrats, 55, 164 New Institutionalism, 25 New Labour, 55, 135, 136, 144–149, 164, 165, 167, 169, 171, 173, 175, 176, 187 New Public Management, xiv, xx, 55, 56, 82, 118–121, 124, 137, 155, 219, 220 Northcote-Trevelyan Report, xvi Nye, Joseph, xxiii, 5, 6, 12, 59, 97, 117, 123 O OECD, 7, 15, 18, 33, 39, 47, 54, 133, 152, 164, 195, 199–202, 221 peer-review mechanism, 38, 39 P Pandemic, ix, xi, xxiii, 8, 9, 23
Penetration, 31, 62 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), 130, 140–144, 147, 155, 166–169, 176, 184, 186, 187, 190 Peter Hall. See Policy paradigms Policy assemblage, 24, 28, 29, 56–58, 62, 63, 76, 80, 107 Policy Communities, 31 Policy convergence, xix, 24, 28–34, 36–38, 40, 44, 46, 85 Policy diffusion, xix, 24, 28, 29, 36–39, 199 Policy learning, ix, xii–xvii, xix, 14–17, 28, 29, 33, 36, 38, 41–43, 45, 46, 52, 80, 82, 124, 155, 161, 170, 171, 193, 194, 200, 204–208, 212, 213, 224 Policy-making digital dimensions of, 225 evaluation, 26, 137 evidence, xiv, xxiv, 137, 147, 161, 163, 165, 180 ideology, xv. See also Digital era governance Policy networks, xxiii, 16, 27, 45, 52, 53, 55, 56, 59, 60, 63, 80, 82, 87–89, 95–99, 101, 122, 124, 176, 185, 193, 194, 197, 203, 204, 206, 209, 211, 219–221, 223, 225 Anglosphere, xv, 101, 124, 193, 194, 197, 209–211, 219–221, 223, 226 Policy paradigms, 43–46, 52 Kuhn and, 43 Policy transfer, 25, 48 criticisms of, 83, 93 definition of, xix, xxi, xxv, 87, 212 Dolowitz and Marsh Model, xix, 29, 47–49, 51, 52, 83, 87, 212
examples of, 85, 86, 95, 163, 221 government advocacy of, 96 networks, 27, 53, 55, 56, 60, 82, 86–89, 94, 96, 102, 161, 186, 190, 202, 209 normative, 17, 26, 62, 218 voluntary and coercive, 27, 47–49, 52, 62, 83, 84, 87 Powell, W.W., 31, 62 Public interest, the, xii, xxi, xxiii, 1, 3–5, 10, 11, 18, 25, 217, 224, 225
Q Quintet of Attorneys-General, 209, 210, 224
R Rationality, 49, 50 Rights and responsibilities, xxiv, 130, 135, 136, 138, 146, 147, 151, 154, 155, 169 Rose, Richard. See Lesson-drawing
S Slaughter, Anne-Marie, 12, 59, 60, 96–99, 101, 122, 221, 225 Stone, Diane, xii, xiv, xv, xx, xxiii, 15, 23–26, 52, 61, 71, 72, 96, 212, 218, 226 Structure and agency, xiii, xxii, 53, 63, 80, 84, 87, 94, 101, 111 structuration and, 84, 94
T Third Way, the, xiv, xv, xxiii, xxiv, 121, 124, 129–131, 134–138, 144, 146, 147, 155, 161, 164,
165, 168, 169, 172, 178, 183, 184, 219, 220 Transgovernmentalism, 28, 29, 58, 59, 61, 63, 96, 97, 100, 193, 211, 218, 220, 223, 226. See also Anglosphere, policy networks U United Nations, x V Visegrad group, 114 Voluntary, 49, 50 W Welfare-to-work, xv, xxiii, xxiv, 124, 129, 130, 132–134, 138, 146, 147, 149, 150, 153, 155, 161–165, 169, 173, 175, 176, 187 and Australian policy, xv, xxiv, 130, 155, 161, 162, 165, 176 and UK policy, xv, xxiv, 130, 147, 150, 155, 161, 162, 164, 165, 169, 173, 176 and US policy, xv, xxiv, 130, 138, 150, 155, 161, 162, 164, 165, 169, 173, 175, 176, 187 punitive effects of, xxiv, 131–133, 153 Wendt, Alexander, xix, 81, 84, 109–111, 123, 223 and collective identity formation, 81, 109 Westminster system, xv, xvii, 115, 195 Windsor conference, the, xxiv, 193, 194, 202–204, 208–210, 221 Working Nation, xxiv, 131, 152, 153 World Trade Organisations (WTO), 31, 54