The Global Diffusion of Public Policies: Social Construction, Coercion, Competition or Learning?

27 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2009

See all articles by Beth A. Simmons

Beth A. Simmons

University of Pennsylvania

Frank Dobbin

Harvard University - Department of Sociology

Geoffrey Garrett

Pacific Council on International Policy

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 1, 2007

Abstract

Social scientists have sketched four distinct theories to explain a phenomenon that appears to have ramped up in recent years- the diffusion of policies across countries. Constructivists trace policy norms to expert epistemic communities and international organizations, who define economic progress and human rights. Coercion theorists point to powerful nation-states, and international financial institutions, that threaten sanctions or promise aid in return for fiscal conservatism, free trade, etc. Competition theorists argue that countries compete to attract investment and to sell exports by lowering the cost of doing business, reducing constraints on investment, or reducing tariff barriers in the hope of reciprocity. Learning theorists suggest that countries learn from their own experiences and, as well, from the policy experiments of their peers. We review the large body of research from sociologists and political scientists, as well as the growing body of work from economists and psychologists, pointing to the diverse mechanisms that are theorized and to promising avenues for distinguishing among causal mechanisms.

Keywords: global diffusion, public policy

Suggested Citation

Simmons, Beth A. and Dobbin, Frank and Garrett, Geoffrey, The Global Diffusion of Public Policies: Social Construction, Coercion, Competition or Learning? (August 1, 2007). Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 33, pp. 449-472, August 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1517972

Beth A. Simmons (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3501Sansom
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
7817990076 (Phone)

Frank Dobbin

Harvard University - Department of Sociology ( email )

33 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Geoffrey Garrett

Pacific Council on International Policy ( email )

Los Angeles, CA
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,168
Abstract Views
4,343
rank
15,908
PlumX Metrics