Policy experiments have often been touted as valuable mechanisms for ensuring sustainability transitions and climate change adaptation. However problems exist both in the definition of ‘experiments’, and in their design and realization. While valuable, most experiments examined in the literature to date have been small-scale micro-level deployments or evaluations of policy tools in which the most problematic element revolves around their “scaling-up” or diffusion. The literature on the subject has generally neglected the problems and issues related to another class of experiments in which macro or meso-level initiatives are ‘scaled-down’ to the micro-level. This paper examines a recent effort of this kind in Canada involving the creation of Regional Adaptation Collaboratives (RACs) across the country whose main purpose is to push national level initiatives down to the regions and localities. As the discussion shows, this top-down process has its own dynamics distinct from those involved in ‘scaling up’ and should be examined as a separate category of policy experiments in its own right.
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“Push” dynamics in policy experimentation: Downscaling climate change adaptation programs in Canada.
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