Design and Scaling Up of Policy Experiments and Pilots: Lessons for the Water Sector

22 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2014

See all articles by Sreeja Nair

Sreeja Nair

Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore

Michael P. Howlett

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Political Science; National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Date Written: November 25, 2014

Abstract

The use of experimentation by practitioners and resource managers as a policy instrument for effective policy design under complex and dynamic conditions has been well-acknowledged both in theory and practice. For issues such as water resource management policy experimentation, especially pilot projects can play an important role in exploring alternate courses of action when faced with long-term uncertainty. While the political aspects of experimentation have been alluded to by several policy scholars, there is lack of empirical evidence that explores their interplay with other factors that may also be critical for scaling up of policy experiments. This paper presents a critique of factors that can influence scaling up of policy experiments, including pilots and draws lessons for experimentation in the water sector through a review of selected examples of water policy experiments and a Qualitative Comparative Analysis of pilots in multiple sectors. The analysis reveals that the design of policy experiments apart from being a technical process it is also highly driven by the interests, behavior and attitudes of the stakeholders, building on the argument that scaling up is a “craft rather than science” (Spicer et al, 2014). Presence of strong political support, synergies with ongoing policies and programs and regular monitoring and evaluation are found to be factors necessary for scaling up of pilots. When in combination, these three factors are revealed to also create a sufficient condition for scaling up.

Keywords: Institute of Water Policy, policy design, water conflict, water resources management.

Suggested Citation

Nair, Sreeja and Howlett, Michael P., Design and Scaling Up of Policy Experiments and Pilots: Lessons for the Water Sector (November 25, 2014). Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Research Paper No. 14-35. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535148 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2535148

Sreeja Nair

Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore ( email )

469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore, 259772
Singapore

Michael P. Howlett (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Singapore 117591
Singapore

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