Analysing the two-level game: international and national determinants of change in education policy making
Education policy making is often considered an exclusive domain of the nation state in western industrialised countries. Since the 1990s, however, international organisations (IOs) have started to play a greater role in the field of education by developing new forms of governance. As a consequence, the predominance of the nation state in education becomes an increasingly contested issue. Yet, it is not clear what kind of effects IO governance will have, whether it brings about greater convergence among national education policies by promoting uniform solutions for commonly shared problems, or whether national institutions continue to follow their own logic, thereby hindering equal responses to IO governance. In order to develop a better understanding of the dynamics in this two-level game, this paper sets out to develop an analytical framework for examining the interplay between international and national determinants of change in the field of education. We argue that IOs apply different governance instruments by which they seek to influence national education policy making. However, the degree to which nation states will respond to these international stimuli is likely to be mediated by national transformation capacities, most prominently veto players and nationally rooted ideas of education. Based on these basic assumptions, we develop a parsimonious model in which we assess the influence of IO governance on national education policy making mediated through national transformation capacities.
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