Structure, Agency and Policy Learning: Australia’s Multinational Corporations Dilemma

Timothy Legrand

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The political advantages of policy learning are becoming apparent to public officials, who increasingly recognise the instrumental utility of using overseas policy experiences in mobilising domestic support, overcoming political or industry opposition and marshalling transnational coalitions, especially where policy challenges are transnational in nature. Yet, analysis of these phenomena poses particular conceptual problems since most prominent approaches privilege either agential learning or structural diffusion accounts of how and why policies transfer across borders. These can produce partial or sometimes contradictory accounts of why policies transfer between states occur. This chapter engages with this problem by appealing to political sociology insights around structure/agency metatheory and applying these to a case study concerning the diffusion of multinational corporations taxation policies between OECD and G20 states, and the transfer of Diverted Profits Tax between the U.K. and Australia. Developing the work of Margaret Archer, the chapter proposes an institutional morphogenesis of policy transfer, which circumscribes the scope of policy learning with respect to the structure/agency debate. Here it is found that policy transfer, especially in the context of transnational challenges, must be understood as a product of structural imperatives, institutional paradigms and policy learning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLearning in Public Policy: Analysis, Modes and Outcomes
    Editors C.A. Dunlop, C.M. Radaelli, P. Trein
    Place of PublicationCham
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    ISBN (Print)978-3-319-76210-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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