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Policy Transfer in a Politicized Public Administration The Case of Abu Dhabi’s Preventive Public Health Policy: WEQAYA


Policy Transfer in a Politicized Public Administration The Case of Abu Dhabi’s Preventive Public Health Policy: WEQAYA

Halawi, Ali (2016) Policy Transfer in a Politicized Public Administration The Case of Abu Dhabi’s Preventive Public Health Policy: WEQAYA. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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This dissertation seeks to answer the following question: Why do governments forge ahead and import policies, from remote and very culturally dissimilar areas at times, when these policies have low chances of success? This question is explored by analyzing a preventive public health initiative for diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases that was imported from Finland and adopted by policy actors in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Despite the cultural, contextual, geographical, and environmental dissimilarities between the two countries, officials chose a program from a rural Finnish province (North Karelia) to combat the high rate of diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases among Abu Dhabi’s population. However, the policy that was successful in North Karelia did not achieve the desired results in Abu Dhabi. This dissertation offers a bi-partite investigation of the policy transfer process and the implementation outcome. The first section states that specific policy transfer agents, namely expatriate civil servants who were not born, raised, or trained in the importing country, influence ‘what’ and ‘where from’ policies are imported. It argues that the highly politicized structure of Abu Dhabi’s public administration institutions, coupled with the demand for quick results and the lack of local policy-making capacity, leave these expatriate civil servants with little choice but to tackle local problems with foreign solutions with which they are more familiar. The second section addresses some of the reasons behind the perceived failure of transferred policies in Abu Dhabi. On the one hand, it argues that, being unempowered and unchallenged, expatriate civil servants face obstacles that hinder their ability to tackle issues that may arise during implementation or to address sensitive topics that may underlie policy challenges. On the other hand, the culture of competition, rather than cooperation, in public policy-making among governmental organizations substantially decreases transferred policies’ chances of success. The evaluation of the outcome of the implementation is used as point of departure to analyze the entire process. This matters in that it highlights the influence of a politicized public administration on policy transfer in particular and public policy in general. It is also significant because it demonstrates how to better recognize problematic policy transfer by evaluating a combination of factors: the process of transfer, the structure of the importing institution, and the motives of the agent of transfer. By ensuring that receiving institutions can properly incorporate and implement imported solutions, importing countries can increase policy transfers’ chances of success. This contributes to understanding a specific type of policy transfer agent and transfer process in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, where the proportion of expatriate civil servants is large. This may also be applicable in other countries that recruit expatriate civil servants or individual consultants to play a role in the policy-making process.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Political Science
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Halawi, Ali
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Political Science
Date:7 August 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Marier, Patrick
ID Code:981424
Deposited By: ALI HALAWI
Deposited On:09 Nov 2016 19:55
Last Modified:15 Sep 2018 00:00
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