Pathologies in International Policy Transfer: The Case of the OECD Tax Transparency Initiative

Richard Eccleston, Richard Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
95 Downloads (Pure)


The importance of international organizations to the development and diffusion of international policy norms is widely recognized but is increasingly tempered by an appreciation of the pathologies of policy transfer. Using a case study of the OECD’s campaign to promote transparency in global tax affairs, this paper identifies a new and relatively distinctive form of dysfunctional policy transfer. Specifically it argues that international organizations face bureaucratic incentives to promote weak or lowest common denominator standards in order to maximize their prospects of brokering successful international agreements. However the paper also notes that while international organizations may have a short-term interest in promoting weak standards, their longer-term legitimacy is often tied to the effectiveness of the standards they promote. It is argued that this dynamic often leads to incremental policy change. Publisher statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis on 12 November 2013, available online:
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-229
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Policy Analysis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • OECD
  • policy transfer


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  • University of Tasmania

    Richard Woodward (Visiting researcher)

    1 Jan 201228 Feb 2012

    Activity: Visiting an external institutionVisiting an external academic institution

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