2016 Conference Presentation
This paper is a reflection on the usefulness and desirability of policy transfer arising out of comparative social policy research. It is based on the theoretical and empirical findings of the Fairer Caring Nations project, funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council as part of the program of work carried out around the Scottish referendum on independence in 2014. The project aimed to draw lessons on how to achieve gender equality using childcare and long-term care policy, and apply those lessons in a national and regional policy context. The research used a systematic Comparative Qualitative Framework to identify six case study countries/regions which scored highly on the Gender Equality Index, and to use policy transfer theories to examine whether it would be possible to construct a ‘best policy’ scenario that would be applicable in a similar socio-economic welfare state with a lower Gender Equality Index.
Constitutional change (such as increased devolution to Scotland following the referendum) provides a unique ‘window of opportunity’ to effect policy change. This paper will both present the theoretical and empirical findings of the project, and provide a critical reflection on the opportunities and challenges presented by attempted to achieve applied policy transfer from academic research carried out during turbulent times.
It will be of interest to scholars working in comparative research, gender equality, childcare, long-term care and those interested in national and regional social policy developments; and to those attempting to work in an applied way to engender policy and practice change from academic research.