Teaching public policy: Global convergence or difference?
To the extent the policy outcomes depend on policy capacity, an important ingredient in that capacity is the training of public servants, and in particular through MPP and MPA programs. As the introduction to this journal issue dedicated to that theme, this article reviews debates about the content and convergence of such programs around the world. The appropriate nature and quality of that content has been the object of attention of accreditation schemes and best practice research, and in the spread of programs internationally. A framework for understanding that spread or diffusion is presented which highlights the interaction of national context, international dynamics, and institutional isomorphism. The articles in this issue clearly show that there has indeed been diffusion, but only modest convergence or programmatic isomorphism. At the same time, there is a persistent sense of an emergent epistemic community and practices in the field, suggesting that the next stage of research should focus on international networks in the field, and the connection between programs, practice, and capacity.