Global Platform of International Public Policies

Policy ambassadors: human agency in the transnationalization of Brazilian social policies


In the past decade, Brazil became a model for social policies, “exporting” ideas and techniques to tackle issues on social participation, poverty and hunger mostly to Southern countries, but also to the Northern States. International policy diffusion is immersed in a complex web of relations established among a plethora of actors participating in various moments and spaces. How policies become models for exporting? Why Brazil was elected as a showcase for social policies? Which actors were engaged in this process? The literature presents different arguments that focus on international organizations, think-tanks, epistemic communities, private agents, networks and so on to explain how policy models travel from a place to another. In this study, the action of exporting elites and their circulation between various institutions are put under analysis to understand diffusion. We introduce in this article a new concept of “Policy Ambassador”, a transnational transfer agent, to explain the diffusion of Brazilian social policy ideas and instruments in the areas of participatory democracy, fight against poverty and hunger eradication.

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