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SPP 366

Author: Richard Rose
Description: This paper examines the tension between universalistic assumptions about the transferability of policies and contextual obstacles to lesson-drawing. Political values and resource constraints are of critical importance for understanding under what circumstances and to what extent lessons can or should be drawn. Where a country looks for lessons reflects psychological more than geographical proximity. Developing countries are prone to make the mistake of focusing on the current policies of developed countries rather than looking back in time to see what the latter did in order to become a developed country. The conclusion is that learning from abroad can contribute to making progress, but differences in starting points mean that national progress is not the same as international convergence or catching up.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland