Vol. 5, No. 1 (2009): 33–53.
There is considerable interest in how policies originating in one time or place are adopted in other places and times. Explanations of this phenomenon have been dominated by three approaches: policy diffusion, policy convergence and policy transfer. This article demonstrates that each approach has both strengths and weaknesses, and no approach can, on its own, does adequate explanatory justice to the complexity of policy transfer from rich to poor countries. The article uses the case of the transfer of telecommunications privatisation policy to Thailand to show this complexity and focuses on the Telephone Organisation of Thailand (TOT). The case is presented to support the argument that the interaction of domestic and international actors among the unique structural features and historical events of a particular place result in the modification of policies as they move between countries and after they have arrived at their new destination.
Issariyaporn Chulajata completed her PhD in Government from the University of Canberra in 2006. Her study focused on Thailand’s experience with telecommunications privatization. Dr Chulajata started her career in the diplomatic service as Economic Adviser and was appointed Consul of the Royal Thai Consulate General in Los Angeles. She was an international consultant prior to her current appointment as policy analyst and economist in the Australian Public Service.
Mark Turner is Professor of Development Policy and Management at the University of Canberra and Part-time Professor at the Australia New Zealand School of Government. He has extensive experience of research and consultancy on public sector management and politics in the Asia-Pacific region. Among his recent books are Challenging Global Inequality (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, with A. Greig and D. Hulme), Decentralisation in Indonesia (Asia-Pacific Press, 2003, with O. Podger) and Central-Local Relations in Asia-Pacific (Macmillan, 1999).