4: Between policy failure and policy success: bricolage, experimentalism and translation in policy transfer


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.

Content Metrics

May 2022 onwards Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 116 70 18
Full Text Views 5 1 1
PDF Downloads 13 2 2


You are not currently authorised to access the full text of this chapter or article.
Access options
To access the full chapter or article then please choose one of the options below.
Pay to access content (PDF download and unlimited online access)
Other access options
Redeem Token
Institutional Login
Log in via Open Athens or Shibboleth. Please contact your librarian if you need any help.
Login with Institutional Access
Personal Login
Login to your BUP account with your individual credentials.
Login with BUP account

Institutional librarians can find more information about free trials here