Skip to main content

Policy Transfer and Convergence: Multilateral Agencies and the Transfer of Competition and Regulatory Policy in Asia

Project Scheme:
General Research Fund
Project Year:
2019/2020
Project Leader:
Professor JARVIS, Darryl Stuart
(Department of Asian and Policy Studies)
Policy Transfer and Convergence: Multilateral Agencies and the Transfer of Competition and Regulatory Policy in Asia

This project seeks to understand and map the impact of exogenous policy knowledge on policy formulation, policy design and practice and the prospects of policy convergence.

Historically, scholarship into policy formulation and policy design has been strongly influenced by Weberian conceptions of bureaucracy. At the apex of bureaucratic hierarchies, political leadership and senior bureaucrats formulate policy, while ministries and other organs of the state manage functional issues associated with implementation and day-to-day administration. Policy scientists have thus focused their theory building efforts on elite bureaucratic actors who are seen to manage the policy formulation process, control information inputs, structure and interpret the policy problem and provide policy designs for their management and political accommodation. In the contemporary era, however, these theoretical frameworks are increasingly problematic. Substantial growth in the number of transnational policy regimes that govern complex exchange activities (e.g., trade, product certification, food safety and manufacturing standards) along with an expanding number of activities subject to extra-territorial policy coordination, often by multilateral organisations (e.g., exchange rate and macro-prudential regulatory standards, accounting standards), is causing the locus of policy knowledge, policy formulation and policy design to originate in non-traditional and non-domestic settings. As a consequence, the sources of policy knowledge, expertise and ideas are becoming more exogenous; situated in specialist transnational communities of practice, technical and professional associations and multilateral organisations. These developments both facilitate and deepen international policy coordination and policy diffusion, with policy makers now more likely to source or adopt policy knowledge and policy designs from other jurisdictions or expert knowledge communities, leading to what some analysists have identified as the increasing prevalence of policy convergence. This project seeks to understand and map the impact of exogenous policy knowledge on policy formulation, policy design and practice and the prospects of policy convergence. It does so by analysing the formulation of competition policy in three case study countries, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korean. Specifically, it seeks to analyse the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the role it plays in ideational formation and how this impacts and shapes the policy preferences of domestic policy actors leading to the adoption of specific competition policy designs and practices.