Ambiguity in Policy Lessons: The Agencification Experience

La Follette School Working Paper No. 2005-025

32 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2005

See all articles by Donald P. Moynihan

Donald P. Moynihan

Georgetown University - McCourt School of Public Policy

Date Written: November 2005

Abstract

The policy transfer literature identifies the importance of context in shaping policy selection. However, countries with distinctly different contexts are pursuing the agencification of the public sector. Why? The solution to this puzzle lies in the ambiguity associated with public management ideas, which allows policy adopters room to interpret management doctrines and experience. The result is that public management ideas that carry the same identifying label can mask variation in the understanding of the policy, the motivation for adoption, and in implementation outcomes. The process of interpretation allows policymakers in different contexts to a) adopt superficially similar policy concepts, b) overlook negative experiential learning that contradicts the policy doctrine, and c) adopt policies unsuitable to the national context.

Keywords: new public management, agencies, policy transfer, adoption

JEL Classification: D83, H10

Suggested Citation

Moynihan, Donald P., Ambiguity in Policy Lessons: The Agencification Experience (November 2005). La Follette School Working Paper No. 2005-025, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=867125 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.867125

Donald P. Moynihan (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - McCourt School of Public Policy ( email )

Old North, Suite 100
37th & O Streets NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

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