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The fertile soil for policy learning


  • Janet Frantz
  • Hajime Sato


Early in the 20th century, both Japan and the United States adopted isolation as the primary policy for leprosy victims. Medical science had, by mid-century, arrived at a near consensus that isolation was inappropriate. This new information filtered into the policy making soil of both nations and slowly led to the abandonment of isolation. Conceptualizations from the literature offer the bases of a policy learning model centered on the characteristics of a fertile soil for policy learning. The model considers the nature of the problem, the nature of the information, and the nature of the debate as critical factors shaping the learning of new information. Each factor added to the understanding. The problem, complex and characterized by negatively constructed targets, was not amenable to policy learning, especially in Japan with more victims, more hospitals, more researchers, and more stigmatization. It took considerable time to wrap the information in scientific integrity. In Japan the process was slowed by the war which separated researchers from professional fora at a critical time. Head on, confrontational debates in both nations failed. Success came only when strategies that moderated debate were adopted. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Suggested Citation

  • Janet Frantz & Hajime Sato, 2005. "The fertile soil for policy learning," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 38(2), pages 159-176, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:policy:v:38:y:2005:i:2:p:159-176
    DOI: 10.1007/s11077-005-2563-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Dixon & Rhys Dogan, 2004. "The Conduct of Policy Analysis: Philosophical Points of Reference," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 21(4), pages 559-579, July.
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