Actively cultivating policy similarity. A regional strategy in education policy in France and Germany

Autor principal:
Claire Dupuy
Sesión 1
Día: viernes, 20 de septiembre de 2013
Hora: 11:45 a 14:15

Regionalization processes across Western Europe have triggered analyses of regional policy divergence. Yet, in a number of cases, regional governments appeared to have deliberately strived to achieve policy conformity. Previous research tends to emphasize exogenous explanations of regional policy convergence. In contrast, this paper addresses the issue of regional policy convergence by focusing on endogenous explanatory factors. An investigation of when, how, and with what effect a “desire for conformity” arises is intended. The paper contends that regional governments may actively cultivate policy similarity as a strategy to develop or secure their policy capacity. Specifically, the paper argues that the adoption of this strategy is contingent upon two requirements that may or may not be met, and that the strategy outcome is the convergence on targeted dimensions of regional policies. The two requirements are: (i) a countrywide public preference for policy uniformity in the policy area of concern, and (ii) the presence of a threat posed to regional policy capacity by various political entrepreneurs, and among them the central state, who blame regions for providing divergent policies on particular dimensions. This paper is based on the comparison of two case studies where regional governments deliberately pursued policy conformity on targeted dimensions of their education policy: school-building policy in France and curricula policy in Germany. The two case-studies also present dissimilar features that allow investigating the impact of the institutional setting and the policy distribution on the adoption and the operation of the active-cultivation-of-policy-similarity strategy.

Palabras clave: Regional governments; Policy convergence/divergence; Policy capacity; Education policy; France; Germany