We argue that the burgeoning literature on policy transfer suffers from the lack of an analytical framework that would facilitate understanding and, thus, theory–building. We suggest that policy transfer be conceptualized as occurring through a communications and information framework and that it focus on information networks that include producers, senders, and facilitators of information, as well as recipients. We apply this framework to an illustrative study of how British local–authority officials involved in the area of urban regeneration policy learn from each other’s experience.

Utilizing this approach, the results of our case study yield several testable hypotheses for future study. In particular, they direct us towards the importance of informal networks in the policy–transfer process, towards an examination of the motivations of producers, senders, and disseminators of information, and towards the difficulty all participants in the network have in assessing the quality and validity of the information they receive.