Excerpts from Learning from Comparative Public Policy: A Practical Guide:

  • The object of looking abroad is not to copy but to learn under what circumstances and to what extent programmes effective elsewhere may also work here.
  • Differences in the responses… to a common problem offer the opportunity to compare the strengths and weaknesses of your own programmes with what others… are doing.
  • Benchmarking rejects the social scientist’s practice of explaining differences in performance as due to differences in national context and resources.
    • Instead, it emphasizes that substandard performance implies a need to improve a national programme
  • Best-practice prescriptions tend to homogenize distinctions between programmes ranging from the second-best to the worst.
  • In the words of a Washington aphorism, ‘Where you stand depends on where you sit.’
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