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Who Learns from What in Policy Diffusion Processes?

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Gilardi Fabrizio ,
Project MOSAiCH 2011
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal American Journal of Political Science
Volume (Issue) 54(3)
Page(s) 650 - 666
Title of proceedings American Journal of Political Science
DOI 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2010.00452.x


The idea that policy makers in different states or countries may learn from one another has fascinated scholars for a long time, but little systematic evidence has been produced so far. This article improves our understanding of this elusive argument by distinguishing between the policy and political consequences of reforms and by emphasizing the conditional nature of learning processes. Using a directed dyadic approach and multilevel methods, the analysis of unemployment benefits retrenchment in {OECD} countries demonstrates that policy makers learn selectively from the experience of others. Right governments tend to be more sensitive to information on the electoral consequences of reforms, while left governments are more likely to be influenced by their policy effects.