Concerted Horizontal Policy Transfer: How Local Action can Drive National Compliance to International Norms

Mavrot, Céline (2017). Concerted Horizontal Policy Transfer: How Local Action can Drive National Compliance to International Norms. In: Hadjiisky, Magdaléna; Pal, Leslie A.; Walker, Christopher (eds.) Public Policy Transfer: Micro-Dynamics and Macro-Effects. New horizons in public policy (pp. 101-124). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar

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This chapter addresses a stimulating case of policy transfer in the field of smoking prevention policies. It examines the adoption of the tobacco advertising ban by Switzerland in the wake of European and international emerging norms. Interestingly, a handful of domestic policy actors managed to lead the Swiss national government to adopt international standards by first passing regulations at the local level. In 2000, the canton (subnational political unit) of Geneva transposed the international norm and was then rapidly followed by fourteen other cantons by the year 2010. During this process, in a domino effect, the pioneer canton appealed to the necessity to adapt to the supranational environment, while the following cantons called upon the necessity to imitate Geneva. In the face of these changes, the federal authorities were finally constrained to change national rules. This constitutes a prime example of complex interactions occurring between multilevel policy transfer processes, all the way from local political life to the highest international treaties and vice versa. Counterintuitively, the adoption of the tobacco control measure mainly resulted from a bottom-up policy dynamic. A cooperative horizontal policy transfer between cantonal governments underpinned it. Hence, this study highlights how local policy transfer can force the national level to comply with international standards. It also shows how a policy transfer process can be truly concerted and polycentric in nature, thus challenging the traditional dichotomy between “senders” and “receivers”.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


11 Centers of Competence > KPM Center for Public Management

UniBE Contributor:

Mavrot, Céline


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 350 Public administration & military science




New horizons in public policy


Edward Elgar




Céline Mavrot

Date Deposited:

05 May 2017 09:34

Last Modified:

13 Nov 2017 08:22




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