Radaelli, Claudio M. (1997) Policy Transfer in The European Union: Institutional Isomorphism as a Source of Legitimacy. JMWP No. 10.97, September 1997. [Working Paper]
The paper examines public policy in the European Union (EU) by drawing upon the conceptual framework of policy transfer, which has been recently refined by comparativists, and the concept of isomorphism developed within organizational theory. Three case studies of EU policy transfer - namely monetary policy, tax policy, and media ownership policy - are discussed and compared for assessing the potential of isomorphism for the analysis of policy diffusion. The author argues that European institutions, which have a serious political limitation in terms of legitimacy, stimulate policy transfer by catalysing isomorphic processes which diffuse throughout the EU national policy solutions to collective problems. By contrast, policy transfer is severely constrained when there are no national cases to be imitated. In this circumstance, however, European institutions, most notably the European Commission, can overcome the problem by ‘inseminating’ solutions into national political systems.
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