The travel of policy ideas across countries is a widely acknowledged phenomenon. Conventional approaches to the study of this process hinge on concepts such as ‘policy transfer’, ‘policy diffusion’, ‘lesson-drawing’ and ‘institutional isomorphism’. These approaches are influential in understanding public policy; however, they assume perfect rationality of actors, the stability of governance scales and the immutability of policy ideas in their travel. I propose policy translation as a new approach to counter these shortcomings and study the travel of policy ideas in order to shed light on pertaining policy questions, such as whether the travel of policy ideas may be navigated, and if so, how. I illustrate the relevance and value of policy translation with a case study from the water sector in Turkey.

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Keywords policy translation • policy transfer • contingency • scale • meaning
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Journal Policy and politics
Mukhtarov, F. (2020). Rethinking the Travel of Ideas: Policy Translation in the Water Sector. Policy and politics, 42(1), 71–88. Retrieved from