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Abstract

Research on policy borrowing is a well-established research area of comparative education. Over the past 20 years or so it gained prominence among globalization scholars. Of great interest is not so much the question of which reforms "travel" internationally, and which ones are homebound, but rather why traveling reforms resonate in a given context and at a specific moment, and how they are subsequently translated or locally adapted. In addition to issues of reception and translation, questions on the politics and economics of policy transfer are central to this research area. Empirical studies have shown that borrowing reforms from other countries, from other sectors within a country, or from "international standards" broadly defined often help coalition-building in a country. Policy borrowing also helps to mobilize financial resources, especially when it is preceded by political talk of falling behind some international standards or "best practices." Therefore, the methods of inquiry used, the type of research questions asked, and the conclusions drawn in this body of research tend to address political and economic aspects of educational reform. Arguably, a transnational perspective is indispensable to carry out this kind of intellectual project. The academic preoccupation with policy borrowing has helped to formulate the contours of comparative policy studies. The article provides a brief overview of the main tenets of policy borrowing research and then focuses specifically on three aspects: policy reception, policy projection, and the rise of the global education industry as a new actor and beneficiary of global education policy.

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