This collection explores the idea that devolution in European states can provide ‘laboratories of democracy’ as states experiment in different ways to address social and economic problems and engage their citizens. While there is a substantial literature on policy diffusion and learning among US states, and on transfer and learning between countries, there is not much on learning among European federated and devolved governments. This collection fills that gap with a series of studies based primarily on experiences in Germany, Spain and the UK (including a particular focus on Northern Ireland). The introduction sets up the analytical framework, discussing the concepts of learning and transfer, the direction of transfer (for example, from the centre to the devolved territory), the mechanisms involved (from voluntary to coercive) and the degree of transfer.
- policy divergence