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What is Lesson-Drawing?


  • Rose, Richard


Lesson-drawing addresses the question: Under what circumstances and to what extent can a programme that is effective in one place transfer to another. Searching for fresh knowledge is not normal; the second section describes the stimulus to search as dissatisfaction with the status quo. Lessons can be sought by searching across time and/or across space; the choice depends upon a subjective definition of proximity, epistemic communities linking experts together, functional interdependence between governments, and the authority of intergovernmental institutions. The process of lesson-drawing starts with scanning programmes in effect elsewhere, and ends with the prospective evaluation of what would happen if a programme already in effect elsewhere were transferred here in future. Lesson-drwaing is part of a contested political process; there is no assurance that a lesson drawn will be both desirable and practical. The conclusion considers the uncertainty and instability of judgements about the practicality and desirability of transferring programmes.

Suggested Citation

  • Rose, Richard, 1991. "What is Lesson-Drawing?," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 3-30, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jnlpup:v:11:y:1991:i:01:p:3-30_00

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