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Keywords:

  • policy transfer;
  • policy diffusion;
  • cross-national policy learning;
  • lesson drawing

David Benson and Andrew Jordan's article ‘What Have We Learned from Policy Transfer Research? Dolowitz and Marsh Revisited’ provides a timely and interesting assessment on the state of the art. However, it is also a debatable one for at least two reasons: because it more or less assumes that Dolowitz and Marsh's works have provided the intellectual foundations of the policy transfer approach; and because Benson and Jordan use a rather restrictive understanding of what counts as ‘policy transfer’ studies. This article will challenge these assumptions and will argue that we can find conceptualisations and questions about policy transfer in earlier works by other scholars; that Dolowitz and Marsh's definition of ‘policy transfer’ is widely used, but has been subject to more criticisms than Benson and Jordan acknowledge; that a thorough assessment of our knowledge about policy transfer requires the use of a less restrictive approach; and that developments in policy transfer and associated research areas should be further integrated to improve our understanding of how and why governments use foreign experiences in devising their own policies.