Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type



5.6 POLITICAL SCIENCE, Political science

Publication Details

Authors' accepted version.

Eccleston, R. & Woodward, R. (2014) ‘Pathologies in International Policy Transfer: The Case of the OECD Tax Transparency Initiative’, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, vol. 16, 3, pp. 216-29

Link to published version:


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.