Policy Convergence, Transfer and Learning in the UK under Devolution



Keating M, Cairney P & Hepburn E (2012) Policy Convergence, Transfer and Learning in the UK under Devolution. Regional and Federal Studies, 22 (3), pp. 289-307.

This paper explores the policy transfer and learning process within the UK since 1999, examining the conditions in which transfer takes place among central and devolved governments. We distinguish among concurrent policies, policy competition, coercive transfer and policy learning. Policy transfer can be more or less coercive and constrained, while policy learning is voluntary. Mechanisms for transfer include financial instruments, political parties, the civil service and policy communities. Transfer can take place from centre to periphery, from periphery to centre and across the periphery. There is also transfer at the European and international levels. As it is England that has tended to break with older policies, notably on public service provision, the pressure has been to follow its lead, with the devolved administrations resisting or conforming. The UK government has paid much less attention to possible learning from the devolved territories and sometimes has sought to insulate England from debates there, especially where politically sensitive matters or large resources are at stake. Learning among the devolved territories is only now really beginning.

Policy transfer; policy convergence; policy divergence; policy learning; devolution

Regional and Federal Studies: Volume 22, Issue 3

Publication date31/07/2012
PublisherTaylor and Francis

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Professor Paul Cairney

Professor Paul Cairney

Professor, Politics