Sectoral State Traditions – A Tool to Study Convergence of National Ideas in Policymaking
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of International Doctoral Research. 2017, 6 (1), 50-67.
The sustainability of distinctive national policymaking traditions has been questioned in writings on ideas and their role in the policymaking process. This article proposes an operationalisation of national policymaking traditions that enables cross-national longitudinal comparison: sectoral state traditions, thus contributing to the ongoing debate about the role of ideas in policymaking. Sectoral state traditions are defined as a set of ideas about political authority and legitimate state action in the relevant sector, expressed and identified through public political discourse, which is a major vehicle to maintain and develop traditions in policymaking. The concept is useful in analysing cross-national convergence of ideas as shown by an investigation of institutional reforms in the telephone policy area in the period 1876-1997. Thus, the key findings in this article suggest that policy convergence does not equate convergence of ideas.
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