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The National Origins of Policy Ideas:
Knowledge Regimes in the United States, France, Germany, and Denmark
John L. Campbell & Ove K. Pedersen

Paperback | 2014 | $31.95 | £26.95 | ISBN: 9780691161167
424 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 2 line illus. 2 tables.
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In politics, ideas matter. They provide the foundation for economic policymaking, which in turn shapes what is possible in domestic and international politics. Yet until now, little attention has been paid to how these ideas are produced and disseminated, and how this process varies between countries. The National Origins of Policy Ideas provides the first comparative analysis of how "knowledge regimes"—communities of policy research organizations like think tanks, political party foundations, ad hoc commissions, and state research offices, and the institutions that govern them—generate ideas and communicate them to policymakers.

John Campbell and Ove Pedersen examine how knowledge regimes are organized, operate, and have changed over the last thirty years in the United States, France, Germany, and Denmark. They show how there are persistent national differences in how policy ideas are produced. Some countries do so in contentious, politically partisan ways, while others are cooperative and consensus oriented. They find that while knowledge regimes have adopted some common practices since the 1970s, tendencies toward convergence have been limited and outcomes have been heavily shaped by national contexts.

Drawing on extensive interviews with top officials at leading policy research organizations, this book demonstrates why knowledge regimes are as important to capitalism as the state and the firm, and sheds new light on debates about the effects of globalization, the rise of neoliberalism, and the orientation of comparative political economy in political science and sociology.


"The historical and comparative analytical approach, further strengthened by elite interviews and archival research, reveals the following country-specific characteristics of knowledge regimes: heterogeneity of ideas, self-critical attitude, comparatively uniform and analytical sophistication, and a nonideological and inclusive approach."--Choice

"The book is an important contribution that opens up new ways of thinking about the production of policy ideas as well as analytical strategies for systematic empirical research. . . . The National Origins of Policy Ideas brings our understanding of knowledge regimes to a new level."--Daniel Nohrstedt, Public Administration


"This volume is original. It surpasses other books on the subject by looking at how policy ideas are produced and broadcast, and to what effect. Campbell and Pedersen's concept of 'knowledge regimes' will reengineer our thinking about the underlying ideational mechanisms steering policy and shaping national institutions."--Diane Stone, Murdoch University

"This pathbreaking book challenges how we think about contemporary politics by illuminating the role of 'knowledge regimes' in determining the quality and diversity of policy alternatives on offer. Campbell and Pedersen draw a surprising--and troubling--picture of how policy ideas are hatched and why they vary so greatly across countries. This innovative and lucid book sets a clear agenda for future research."--Frank Dobbin, author of Inventing Equal Opportunity

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Table of Contents:

List of Tables and Figures ix
List of Acronyms xi
Preface xvii
Chapter 1: Knowledge Regimes and the National Origins of Policy Ideas 1
Part I: The Political Economy of Knowledge Regimes 37
Chapter 2: The Paradox of Partisanship in the United States 39
Chapter 3: The Decline of Dirigisme in France 84
Chapter 4: Coordination and Compromise in Germany 129
Chapter 5: The Nature of Negotiation in Denmark 172
Reprise: Initial Reflections on the National Cases 215
Part II: Issues of Similarity and Impact 231
Chapter 6: Limits of Convergence 233
Chapter 7: Questions of Influence 276
Part III: Conclusions 323
Chapter 8: Summing Up and Normative Implications 325
Postscript: An Agenda for Future Research 332
Appendix: Research Design and Methods 343
References 357
Index 375

Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Ove K. Pedersen:

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