IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Soft governance in education: The PISA study and the Bologna Process in Switzerland


  • Bieber, Tonia


This paper analyzes the importance of governance of international organizations (IOs) to Swiss policy making in the field of education. The focus is on the Bologna Process driven by the European Commission, and the 'Programme for International Student Assessment' (PISA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The theoretical framework draws on sociological institutionalism and rationalism. The results demonstrate that IOs gave impulses for domestic reforms by applying diverse governance instruments. National transformation capacities of veto-players and cultural guiding principles on education in Switzerland were not able to hinder these impulses as supposed. Instead, the empirical findings show a surprisingly high impact of IO governance instruments, particularly of standard setting, coordinative activities and discursive dissemination on reforms in Swiss education policy-making. This is because IO governance modified domestic guiding principles on education so that they matched those of the IOs. Another reason is that the domestic level strategically used the international initiatives of PISA and Bologna to overcome long-standing backlog of reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Bieber, Tonia, 2010. "Soft governance in education: The PISA study and the Bologna Process in Switzerland," TranState Working Papers 117, University of Bremen, Collaborative Research Center 597: Transformations of the State.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb597:117

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nagel, Alexander-Kenneth & Bieber, Tonia & Jakobi, Anja P. & Knodel, Philipp & Niemann, Dennis, 2009. "Measuring transformation: a mixed-method-approach to the internationalization of education politics," TranState Working Papers 83, University of Bremen, Collaborative Research Center 597: Transformations of the State.
    2. Angel de la Fuente & Antonio Ciccone, 2003. "Human capital in a global and knowledge-based economy," Working Papers 70, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    3. Leuze, Kathrin & Brand, Tilman & Jakobi, Anja P. & Martens, Kerstin & Nagel, Alexander-Kenneth, 2008. "Analysing the two-level game: international and national determinants of change in education policy making," TranState Working Papers 72, University of Bremen, Collaborative Research Center 597: Transformations of the State.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Bologna Process; Direct Democracy; Education Policy-Making; EU; Federalism; International Initiative; International Organization; OECD; PISA Study; Switzerland; Veto-Player;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb597:117. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.