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What Have We Learned from Policy Transfer Research? Dolowitz and Marsh Revisited

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Abstract

Over the last decade, policy transfer has emerged as an important concept within public policy analysis, guiding both theoretical and empirical research spanning many venues and issue areas. Using Dolowitz and Marsh's 1996 stocktake as its starting point, this article reviews what has been learned by whom and for what purpose. It finds that the literature has evolved from its rather narrow, state-centred roots to cover many more actors and venues. While policy transfer still represents a niche topic for some researchers, an increasing number have successfully assimilated it into wider debates on topics such as globalisation, Europeanisation and policy innovation. This article assesses the concept's position in the overall ‘tool-kit’ of policy analysis, examines some possible future directions and reflects on their associated risks and opportunities.

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