Kristin Makszin (Hungarian Academy of Science) and I wrote a paper on the link between international policy diffusion and policy instability. It is part of an edited volume on policy diffusion, innovation and failure in eastern Europe and beyond. For details see here. My former colleague Andrew Cartwright, co-editor, has written a concise blog entry summarizing the main idea behind the edited voluem.
In the paper we look at the link of policy instability, i.e. policy changes that did not last, and when and how policy diffusion has exacerbated this instability. We argue that pension privatization in particular, is a tale of excessive ambitions, especially promulgated by supranational organizations, but that there are other instances in which diffusion-induced policy change proved to be unsustainable.
These tales are very interesting for other scholars working on international policy diffusion and social or welfare policy research. Just as an illustration, I plot the number of countries that followed a typical (partial) privatization of pension systems over time. While we see patterns consistent with policy diffusion (an S-shape), we also see indications of a boom-and-bust cycle as a lot of those countries which introduced the reforms have also partially or completely reversed them later on.
Here is our Kemmerling_Makszin_manuscript before print. For a better copy pls. contact me directly.