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Developing a conceptual and methodological framework for assessing policy learning in European territorial cooperation projects

Claire Colomb () and Francesc Morata

ERSA conference papers from European Regional Science Association

Abstract: Whilst there has been a surge of interest in various disciplines in European territorial cooperation between sub-central levels of government at different scales (cross-border, transnational, inter-regional), researchers and practitioners have struggled to develop appropriate methodologies to analyse the outcomes and impacts of territorial cooperation programmes/projects. That transboundary cooperation leads to the dissemination of good practice, to policy change and to concrete territorial impacts has become accepted wisdom within European programmes, in spite of the often scarce evidence about such outcomes. This paper will build upon the notion of ‘social' or ‘policy' learning in order to propose a conceptual and methodological framework to investigate whether, and how, policy learning processes take place between sub-central governmental actors in the framework of European territorial cooperation networks and programmes, on the basis of sociological approaches to 'cognitive Europeanisation' and to organisational learning. The paper will then present the very preliminary results of two research projects on cross-border and transnational territorial cooperation in Southern Europe currently being carried out at the University Institute of European Studies, Barcelona, by proposing a brief reflection on the factors (in particular related to the notion of ‘institutional capacity') which facilitate or impede processes of social and policy learning in transboundary cooperation projects – taking as an example the involvement of Catalan institutional actors in such projects.

Date: 2011-09
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