Over the past 20 years, three bodies of literature (and their numerous outgrowths) have developed relatively independently of each other: studies of transfer, studies of learning, and studies of knowledge updating. This article will seek to illustrate how each has developed in relation to policymaking and then to link them through a discussion of how policy transfer can be better used to explain policymaking if viewed through the lens of knowledge updating as it occurs during the policy cycle.
Over the past 20 years, three bodies of literature (and their numerous outgrowths) have developed relatively independently of each other: studies of transfer, studies of learning, and studies of knowledge updating. At their most basic, transfer studies examine the process by which one political system integrates policies that have been previously used in another political system. In a similar way, at their most basic learning studies tend to examine how and under what conditions information is acquired in the individual and institutional level and what types of psychological and outlook changes might occur as a result to this information.
Finally, at its base the knowledge utilization literature is interested in how knowledge is used within the policymaking process and what changes this utilisation might bring about. This article suggests that the concepts of policy transfer, learning, and knowledge updating should be brought together. The goal will be to view how the three theoretically thought the prism of a typical policymaking model while illustrate some of the linkages through empirical examples of policies working their way through the actual policy process on its way to implementation. This should start to bring the different literatures together while advancing each one of them independently. Most importantly by linking the three literatures it should start the process of allowing the transfer literature to move forward from simple descriptive frameworks toward more advanced modelling that could have better predictive power.
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