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Overseas and over here: policy transfer and evidence-based policy-making

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This article examines the relationship between evidence-based policy-making and policy transfer. The policy transfer framework has been widely employed across a range of disciplines in recent years, yet has also attracted criticism for its failure to adequately explain why policy officials engage in transfer at all. This article considers the changed political landscape after the election of New Labour in the UK in 1997 and argues that the policy transfer of welfare-to-work policy ideas from the USA was at least partly driven by pressure to develop evidence-based policy. In doing so, this article provides two new contributions to the literature. First, it asserts New Labour's injunction to use evidence-based welfare policy provides an important explanation as to why UK officials adopted US welfare approaches. Second, using a series of interviews and document analysis, this article finds that, in addition to welfare policy ideas, UK policy officials adopted policy evaluation techniques from the USA.
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Keywords: evidence-based policy; policy analysis; policy learning; policy transfer; welfare

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security and the Centre for Governance and Public Policy,Griffith University, Brisbane,Queensland,4111, Australia

Publication date: July 1, 2012

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