Instrument constituencies and transnational policy diffusion: The case of conditional cash transfers

Daniel BÉLAND, Rosina FOLI, Michael HOWLETT, M. RAMESH, Jun Jie WOO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to improve knowledge of the transnational diffusion of public policies. It argues that existing studies on the subject do not provide an adequate understanding of the mechanisms through which diffusion takes place, nor do they sufficiently address the roles specific organizations and individuals play in driving or determining the policy transfer process. We address these shortcomings by studying the diffusion of conditional cash transfer (CCT) programmes from Latin America to Ghana and the Philippines over the past decade. We use the concept of 'instruments constituency' to delineate and trace the various actors and channels involved in the diffusion of CCTs. The comparative case studies show that these constituencies, dedicated to the articulation, adoption, and expansion of particular policy instruments, are central players in transnational diffusion of policies. This finding has significant implications for the study of policy transfer and diffusion, identifying a heretofore neglected actor in these processes. Copyright © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-482
JournalReview of International Political Economy
Issue number4
Early online dateJun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


policy of expansion
Policy diffusion
Conditional cash transfers
Latin America
public policy
Policy transfer
Transfer process
Policy instruments
Public policy
Comparative case study


Béland, D., Foli, R., Howlett, M., Ramesh, M., & Woo, J. J. (2018). Instrument constituencies and transnational policy diffusion: The case of conditional cash transfers. Review of International Political Economy, 25(4), 463-482. doi: 10.1080/09692290.2018.1470548


  • Policy diffusion
  • Policy actors
  • Instrument constituencies
  • Conditional cash transfers
  • Ghana
  • Philippines