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

Dobbin, Frank, Beth Simmons, and Geoffrey Garrett. 2007. “The Global Diffusion of Public Policies: Social Construction, Coercion, Competition, or Learning?” Annual Review of Sociology 33, pp. 449-72

38 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2013

See all articles by Frank Dobbin

Frank Dobbin

Harvard University - Department of Sociology

Beth A. Simmons

University of Pennsylvania

Geoffrey Garrett

Pacific Council on International Policy

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: 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: political sociology, new institutionalism, international relations

Suggested Citation

Dobbin, Frank and Simmons, Beth A. and Garrett, Geoffrey, The Global Diffusion of Public Policies: Social Construction, Coercion, Competition, or Learning? (2007). Dobbin, Frank, Beth Simmons, and Geoffrey Garrett. 2007. “The Global Diffusion of Public Policies: Social Construction, Coercion, Competition, or Learning?” Annual Review of Sociology 33, pp. 449-72. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2281983

Frank Dobbin (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Sociology ( email )

33 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Beth A. Simmons

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

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

Geoffrey Garrett

Pacific Council on International Policy ( email )

Los Angeles, CA
United States

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