This chapter re-assesses some of the literature on policy transfer and policy diffusion, in light of ideas as to what constitutes failure, partial failure, or limited success. Rather than frame a policy transfer as a failure or success, scholars must recognise transfer (and so failure) as a messy process involving an array of meso-level actors. Two aspects are of particular note. First, the treatment of imperfect transfer as underscored by flawed lesson-drawing is useful as it takes one back to questions about the depth of learning. Second, the chapter highlights two aspects of learning that are often overlooked in mainstream accounts: ‘negative lesson-drawing’ and selective learning. Negative lesson-drawing is a quest to avoid policy failure where policy learning is not synonymous with policy adoption. Instead, policy lessons can help crystallise what ideas and policy paths decision-makers do not wish to follow.
May 2022 onwards
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