Comparative Public Policy: The State of the Art

Open Panel

Policy studies have historically been dominated by domestic, often localised, sub-national traditions of inquiry, typically grappling with issues of policy formulation, design, implementation, analysis and evaluation in discrete, non-comparative contexts. Arguably, while this has generated substantial empirical research and contributed to voluminous literatures, the transferability of this knowledge into other national or domain specific contexts has been limited. By contrast, comparative public policy research has sought to address this problem, situating itself at the analytical intersection of geographic and domain specific policy work in an attempt enhance understanding of policy processes, policy design and policy outcomes. This panel addresses the state of the art of comparative public policy research; achievements, research gaps, challenges, omissions and failures. It explores, in particular, new and innovative trends in comparative policy analysis, the often vexed intellectual relationship between comparative policy research, comparative public administration and comparative politics, and welcomes paper submissions able to straddle, interrogate or integrate these traditions theoretically or through empirical and applied analysis.

The panel also encourages explorations of the methods and substantive tools of comparative public policy analysis, particularly those able to explore key and recurrent themes in comparative public policy research: explaining and theorizing policy and institutional change; the transmission and diffusion of policy ideas; policy learning; policy convergence and divergence.

Papers exploring any of these themes in the context of the state of the field are welcome.