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14th ICPA-Forum and JCPA Workshop

Workshop Details

Call For Papers

Abstract Deadline: December 15, 2015 (300 words)

Notification of Accepted Proposals: January 30, 2016

Full Paper Submission and Registration: June 1, 2016

About the Workshop

Comparative analyses of policies often emphasise understanding and explaining substantive policy experiences in different national, sub-national, or cross-sectoral contexts. However, applying insights from those experiences to pending or future decisions requires methodologies and practices that focus on types and degrees of transferable learning. There are number of conceptual and practical pitfalls:

  • Transferable lessons about the past, even when they are well drawn, do not on their own provide reliable guides to the future. The future can be difficult to forecast, and the concept of “evidence regarding the future” is, by definition, problematic.
  • Lessons about the past are not always well drawn, either for the purposes of local use or for transfer to other places.
  • Transferable lessons witin or across social units are subject to assigned meanings, pre-existing policies, contextual structures, cultures, values, politics, to count just a few.

We welcome papers with a sound comparative methodology focus, which examine the transferability of lessons to inform robust policy recommendations in diverse policy domains and comparative dimensions. We suggest addressing themes such as:

  • Retrospective or counterfactual analysis: What comparative insights influenced a key policy decision? With hindsight, what ‘lessons’ were well drawn, potentially available but actively dismissed, or misunderstood? Can differing policy outcomes be explained by different lesson-drawing methodologies and practices?
  • Methodological innovation: How has or how might comparative policy analysis benefit from current innovations in the use of big data analytics, scenarios, real-time evaluation and other means of trying to discern likely futures? What important gaps in the knowledge base are amenable to innovative methodologies?
  • Methodological application: What does ‘good’ comparative practice look like? Which methods are favoured for specific applications, and can these be improved? For a given policy transfer need, how well do selected comparative methods perform?
  • Implementation and evaluation challenges: What methodologies and practices aid in extracting, assessing, adapting, or applying lessons in the face of inevitable implementation challenges and policy improvement efforts?
  • Theoretical considerations: Which methodologies and practices are most theoretically sound—or ready for retirement—in the face of the unavoidable complexities and uncertainties of policy work?

Papers accepted are eligible for publication in a Special Issue of the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis following the JCPA standard a double-blind peer-review process.The Papers must adhere to at least one of the six comparative criteria advanced by the JCPA in analyzing the applicable theories and empirical evidence they present.