Beyond the Usual Suspects: New Research Themes in Comparative Public Policy

Isabelle Engeli, Christine Rothmayr Allison, Éric Montpetit

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The principal paradox of comparative public policy has remained over the years: there is no clear and broadly shared definition of the field. This article engages with the debate about what comparative public policy is from a distinctive perspective. Drawing from a systematic analysis of published research articles that maps out the usual comparative suspects, it reflects on what comparative public policy does and does not do in terms of comparative scope and country range, and the extent to which the limitations in the comparative scope matter for cumulative knowledge, theory building and the consolidation of the field. The article discusses different strategies to address the challenge of extending the range of comparative analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-132
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Comparative Policy Analysis
Issue number1
Early online date9 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • case selection
  • comparison
  • cumulative knowledge
  • institutionalization
  • public policy
  • theory building

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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