Center for Social Policy Research, Unicom
Room: 3380
Mary-Somerville-Str. 3
28359 Bremen

Before going back to Israel, Asa Maron, visiting fellow at the Center for Social Policy Research since August 2013, will give a talk about the contentious dynamics of policy transfer in the case of Israel.

This lecture will discuss the relations between policy transfer and welfare state reform by using the borrowing and implementation of the “Wisconsin-Works” Workfare program in Israel as a case in point. Drawing on a comprehensive study of Israeli workfare I would like to emphasize two aspects of policy transfer as a socio-political phenomenon that I find relevant for similar processes elsewhere. First, processes of policy transfer are made of international ‘policy borrowing’ sequences and national ‘policy translation’ and ‘policy reenactment’ sequences. While policy borrowing sequences may be analyzed by tracing networks, interactions, and learning events of policy entrepreneurs, policy translation and reenactment sequences call for an institutional analysis that positions new ideas and agents in the context of local power structures and policy legacies. Differentiating these sequences helps to better understand the unfolding of policy transfer and its outcomes. Second, in order to grasp the role of policy transfer in welfare state reform it is important to consider what exactly is transferred? And where exactly such transferred content takes effect? The content of policy transfer consists of different “policy elements”: policy paradigms and models, policy instruments and principles of governance (e.g. managerialism, quasi-markets, partnerships), and also cultural values and interpretation of common social problems. Policy elements may influence the welfare state and promote change through various levels and arenas: from macro-level political and bureaucratic conflicts over the goals of the welfare state, to the meso-level organizational settlements of the welfare state, through to micro-level implementation of new programs via street-level organizations and the routine interaction between their personnel and citizens. After mapping the institutional context in which borrowing the “Wisconsin Works” model took place, the lecture will utilize examples to demonstrate how different policy elements transferred, manifested and influenced the contentious making of Israeli workfare.

About Asa Maron
Since 1 August 2013, the Israeli researcher Asa Maron works in the Department “Theory and Constitution of the Welfare State” at the Center for Social Policy. Asa recently submitted his dissertation, entitled “Striving for Domination and Liberalization in the Welfare State: State Actors, Private Agents and the Reconfiguration of Social Governance and Citizenship in Israel (1997-2010)”, to Ben-Gurion University. Since 2009 he is a researcher in the research project “Domains of State Responsibility and the Limits of Privatization”, at Van-Leer Jerusalem Institute.
His main research field is the sociology of the welfare state. He has particular interest in the reconfiguration of the state, the dynamics and outcomes of governance reforms, and the changing articulation of social rights and duties of citizenship. Starting October 2013 he will be Morris Ginsberg Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Sociology Department, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
At the Center for Social Policy, Asa currently works on a Working Paper entitled “Strategic State Actors and Welfare Reform Trajectories: Coercion and Consent in the Neoliberal Redeployment of the State.”