A special issue of Regional Studies on policy transfer is finally out both online and in print. It was edited by Marcin Dąbrowski, Ida Musiałkowska (Poznań University of Economics) and Laura Polverari (EPRC, University of Strathclyde). The initiative stemmed from a workshop organised at Urbanism, TU Delft, on policy transfer that was organised under the banner of the RSA Research Network on EU Cohesion Policy back in 2015.


This collection of four papers from a very diverse set of Authors, including several current and former SPS colleagues (Dominic Stead, Dorina Pojani), brings new insights to the processes of international policy transfer and learning in the fields of regional and urban development policy, regional innovation and transit-oriented development. It explores, through the perspective of different disciplines, the motivations of actors, tangible and non-tangible outputs, the role of factors affecting the process, and the spillover effects of such process. The contributions bring new insights into what represents success and failure in policy transfer and provide valuable lessons for policy-makers facing the challenges of a fast-changing global context.

You can find the special issue here. The abstract and links to the paper are below.



Theme issue: International policy-transfer initiatives in regional development and planning

Introduction: drawing lessons from international policy-transfer initiatives in regional and urban development  

by Marcin Dąbrowski, Ida Musiałkowska  & Laura Polverari 




EU–China and EU–Brazil policy transfer in regional policy

by Marcin Dąbrowski, Ida Musiałkowska & Laura Polverari



The paper investigates the European Union (EU)–Brazil and EU–China regional policy dialogues, viewed as vectors of cross-national policy transfer. Regional policy is considered as having limited transfer potential due to its inward orientation, context specificity and complexity. Yet, knowledge exchange and voluntary policy transfer have taken place between the EU and Brazil and between the EU and China since the mid-2000s. The study investigates and compares actors, motivations, mechanisms of transfer, conditioning factors and types of outcomes, shedding a light on the under-researched phenomenon of international policy transfer in regional policy.cKEYWORDS: policy transferlesson-drawingregional policyEuropean Union Cohesion PolicyBrazilChina 


Learning and policy transfer in regional development policy in Turkey

This paper examines the changing dynamics of policy transfer in regional policy from supranational/international organizations to Turkey during the 2000s. It adopts a within-case comparative design and draws on an extensive review of primary sources. It shows that political will is a precondition for policy transfer where the dominant mechanism is policy learning by Turkish bureaucrats. These agents of transfer aim at improving and widening the toolkit and scope of policy intervention through increased and differentiated policy instruments, whereas political will is rooted in perceived electoral benefits of both external financial assistance and newly discovered policy instruments.


Parallelism and evolution in transnational policy transfer networks: the case of Sino-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP)

by Julie T. Miao 

This paper examines the policy transfer process and outcomes outside the occidental context. It extends the voluntary transnational policy transfer framework with an evolutionary perspective and a scalar understanding of space and power at the subnational level. When the Sino-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), a government-to-government collaboration in promoting industrial development, was studied, it was revealed that two parallel policy transfer networks were developed in the early days of the SIP, which were embedded in different scales of governance and pursuing divergent targets. Their relationship affected the policy transfer outcomes for the SIP, and reveals the important governance and temporal dimensions in transnational policy transfers.


Is transit-oriented development (TOD) an internationally transferable policy concept? 

Ren Thomas, Dorina Pojani, Sander Lenferink, Luca Bertolini, Dominic Stead & Erwin van der Krabben

Many cities and regions have embraced the concept of transit-oriented development (TOD). This paper explores how transfer of TOD as a policy concept impacts its implementation in the Netherlands. The study determined international policy ideas and tools that have contributed to implementation and tested them with Dutch experts using workshops, serious gaming and design charrettes. The findings suggest a number of factors complicating policy transfer, and that ‘softer’ transferable lessons (e.g., good actor relationships, information sharing) are much more difficult to transfer than ‘harder’ technical tools. Using policy lessons and tools in learning exercises helps to develop contextually appropriate policy solutions.

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