PhD defence E. (Ellen) Minkman


Prof. dr. M.W. van Buuren


Prof. dr. V.J.J.M. Bekkers

Thursday 14 Jan 2021, 15:30 - 17:00
PhD defence
Senate Hall
Erasmus Building
Campus Woudestein
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On Thursday 14 January 2021, E. Minkman will defend her PhD dissertation, entitled: Policy Transfer and Translation of the Dutch Delta Approach’.

In the past 20 years Dutch water management has been transformed from prevention-oriented (i.e. building ever higher dikes) to a risk-based approach that combines hard infrastructure with soft governance measures. This policy shift was needed to maintain the Dutch delta ‘future proof’ in the light of climate change. In the most recent decade, this ‘Dutch approach’ to delta management has been promoted abroad by the Dutch government. As a result, the Dutch Delta Approach (DDA) has served as a policy model in dozens of projects around the globe, and particularly in developing countries. This spreading of the DDA to other countries is in fact a process of policy transfer, which is defined as a process whereby knowledge about policies in one time and place is intentionally used to formulate policies elsewhere (Dolowitz & Marsh, 1996; Evans & Davies, 1999). Given the prominence of Asia among the so-called ‘focus deltas’ to which the DDA is transferred, this research has concentrated on the transfer of the DDA to three Asian countries: Indonesia (Jakarta), Vietnam (Mekong Delta) and Bangladesh. The research concentrates on questions about the effectiveness of transfer of the DDA to these countries: which aspects should be taken into consideration when transferring policy from one country to the other? But also: why is the DDA transferred to other countries in the first place? Which role do local and international politics play in these transfer attempts? And, when can these transfers be considered ‘successful’ or effective? This dissertation has adopted the notion of policy translation, a conceptualisation that emphasises modification of policies while they travel, rather than linear transplantation from A to B (Stone, 2012; Dolowitz, 2017). Despite a vast body of literature around this phenomenon, I identified three theoretical lacunas. These lacunas concerned mobilizing policy for transfer, the process of how actors translate policy ideas and the role of power, interests and politics. The first gap raised questions on how policies are mobilized for travelling and international application. The emphasis in existing literature is on the reasons of receivers to engage in transfer, while there is less attention for policy selling or an active transfer push by senders. The second gap in literature concerns evidence-based understanding of how actors modify ideas to make them suitable for the receiving context. Translation is done by both sender and receiver as well as other relevant actors, hence all actors should be taken into account to understand how policy is Building Bridges translated in practice. Thirdly, policy transfer is about formulating policies, which takes place in a context of existing institutions and political arenas. The role of power and politics is therefore the third gap addressed in this dissertation.

Due to corona, the PhD defences do not take place publicly in the usual way in the Senate Hall or the Professor Andries Querido Room. The candidates will defens their dissertation either in a small group or online.

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