Poster Paper: Utilizing Policy Evidence from Overseas: Identifying Factors of Policy Transfer Success from Korea’s Knowledge Sharing Program

Thursday, November 7, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Plaza Exhibits (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Eun Young Kim, University of Texas, Austin

Evidence-based policy-making is a complex and iterative process, requiring coordination of the political environment, policy processes, and analytical capacity. In situations where coordination or capacity is lacking, policymakers may consider utilizing available policy evidence through processes of policy transfer. Once initiated, successful adoption of the policy by the recipient becomes the goal for policy transfer. Existing studies have identified various factors that enable or constrain successful policy transfer, such as the political context, policy processes, and institutional structures of the recipient; the engagement of policy entrepreneurs; and sufficient information, completeness, and contextual appropriateness of the policy transfer program (Benson and Jordan, 2011; Hwang and Song, 2018; Dolowitz and Marsh, 2000).
This paper examines the case of the Korean Government’s Knowledge Sharing Program (KSP) as an example of transnational policy transfer to further investigate the factors that influence success in policy adoption. First implemented in 2004, the KSP is one of the largest foreign aid programs in Korea which provides policy recommendations to developing countries on a wide array of policy areas, based on Korea’s own development experience and current public policy. In contrast to the large scale of the program and its demand-driven (voluntary) structure, however, follow-up investigations indicate that more often, KSP policy recommendations have not been adopted.
In modeling the odds of policy adoption, I use multilevel logistic regression models with random intercepts to account for the hierarchical structure of the KSP projects where individual projects are nested in yearly programs, and programs are nested in countries. The analytic sample is restricted to only those KSP projects for which follow-up investigations have been conducted, and includes 318 policy projects in 15 countries that were implemented over the period of 2004 to 2013.
While previous studies have emphasized the importance of the political environment and policy processes on the recipient end, the findings of this paper suggest that more consideration needs to be given in planning the policy transfer from the supply-side. I find that 78.39 percent of the variation in the logit of KSP policy adoption is explained by variation on the program-year level. Furthermore, the odds of a KSP policy recommendation being adopted as policy were influenced by logistical characteristics of the policy transfer programs themselves, such as the agent that planned and conducted research for a program, and the continuing status of a program. Given careful planning and implementation to ensure success, policy transfer may serve as an efficient method of policy learning from a wider pool of evidence.