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How do cities approach policy innovation and policy learning? A study of 30 policies in Northern Europe and North America

Marsden, G, Frick, KT, May, AD and Deakin, E (2011) How do cities approach policy innovation and policy learning? A study of 30 policies in Northern Europe and North America. Transport Policy, 18 (3). 501 - 512 . ISSN 0967-070X


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This paper reports on a study of current practice in policy transfer, and ways in which its effectiveness can be increased. A literature review identifies important factors in examining the transfer of policies. Results of interviews in eleven cities in Northern Europe and North America investigate these factors further. The principal motivations for policy transfer were strategic need and curiosity. Local officials and politicians dominated the process of initiating policy transfer, and local officials were also the leading players in transferring experience. A range of information sources are used in the search process but human interaction was the most important source of learning for two main reasons. First, there is too much information available through the Internet and the search techniques are not seen to be wholly effective in identifying the necessary information. Secondly, the information available on websites, portals and even good practice guides is not seen to be of mixed quality with risks of focussing only on successful implementation and therefore subject to some bias. Officials therefore rely on their trusted networks of peers for lessons as here they can access the ‘real implementation’ story and the unwritten lessons. Organisations which have a culture that is supportive of learning from elsewhere had strong and broad networks of external contacts and resourced their development whilst others are more insular or inward looking and reluctant to invest in policy lessons from elsewhere. Solutions to the problems identified in the evidence base are proposed.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2011 Elsevier. This is an author produced version of a paper subsequently published in Transport Policy. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: Policy transfer, Innovation, Urban transport, Policy learning, Implementation
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > Institute for Transport Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2011 13:14
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:35
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tranpol.2010.10.006
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2010.10.006
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43518

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