Lhawang Ugyel and Carsten Daugbjerg
The scope and intensity of policy transfer—defined as the process in which policies and institutions from one time and/or place are used in another time and/or place—has increased in the last two decades. An area where extensive policy transfer occurs is public sector reform. In particular, developing countries frequently draw heavily on New Public Management (NPM) practices originally designed for Western democracies. Perceived as best practices, NPM-related reforms influenced the good governance agenda for most developing countries in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They were based on market-like characteristics such as performance management systems and citizens’ charters. Developing countries have found these reforms irresistible, as they face a huge need to grow their economies and shrink their governments. Amidst the expansion of the practice of policy transfer, early studies assumed that a key to successful transfer was the transfer of policy models in their entirety. However, recent research – including our own article in Policy & Politics – suggests that local adaption is essential for success. Continue reading Successful policy transfer and public sector reform in developing countries
Jo Ingold and Mark Monaghan
This blog post is based on the authors’ article, Evidence translation: an exploration of policy makers’ use of evidence, which won the 2016 prize for the best article in Policy & Politics and is free to access until 15 June 2017.
The role of evidence in policy making, and whether evidence-based policy can ever be a reality, has attracted much debate, both inside and outside academia. In our article on what we refer to as ‘evidence translation’, we try to grapple with these issues. Our academic interest in this area stemmed from research we had conducted separately on similar themes (the role of evidence in policy making), but from different traditions and persuasions. Ingold had focused on ideas relating to ‘policy transfer’ in welfare to work, comparing Denmark with the UK. By contrast, Monaghan had concentrated efforts on understanding the standing of evidence in policy debates often seen, by critics, to be evidence free – in this case the area of UK drug policy. Our substantive areas were not a hindrance to our partnership. Instead, we were very much enthralled by some commentaries in the journal Policy & Politics (and elsewhere) that suggested that both evidence-based policy and policy transfer were fundamentally concerned with the same process, but were literatures that had emerged separately. It was, we felt, a hypothesis worth exploring, but more than that we quickly arrived at the conclusion that there was much to be learned by each literature from the other. Continue reading We still need ‘experts’: evidence translation in practice
Jo Ingold and Mark Monaghan from the University of Leeds discuss their forthcoming article ‘Evidence translation: an exploration of policymakers’ use of evidence’, available via fast track from Policy & Politics.
Given the UK Coalition government’s apparent ‘misuse’ of statistics in a range of policy areas, questions are often raised about the use of evidence in policymaking. Our key concern in this article is how evidence, ideas and knowledge are used (or not) in the policy process, drawing on a series of focus groups with 75 analysts and policy advisers in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The DWP seemed a good place to explore this issue – under New Labour it saw a huge increase in the number of evaluations and is currently the home of ‘flagship’ government policies such as Universal Credit and the Work Programme. Continue reading Evidence translation: an exploration of policymakers’ use of evidence