Scenario 4

Comparative Policy Analysis

The Europeans, the Japanese, and the Australians have taken different approaches from the United States in their efforts to protect agricultural land and ensure the quality of food production. Obviously, the histories and culture of each country play a key role in shaping national policy. Assume you are the director of a not-for-profit institute that is focused on the preservationa nd expansion of agricultural production in the United States. Yor won background includes growing up in the mid-west in a farming community, a graduate degree in agricultural science, ten years of experience managing a large agro-business, and a five-year stint living and working in Germany with their Ministry of Agriculture. Your board of directors includes a wide range of well-known industry, academic, and NGO leaders. They are distressed that the United States is not doing nearly enough to protect farmland, particularly in rapidly developing areas of the Northwest, the West and the Southeast. They want you to take a close look and see what the U.S. ought to learn form the experiences of the EU, Japan, and Australia.

They will fund you to make separate two-week trips to each of those three parts of the world. You can bring along one of your senior staff members. Obviously, you can collect any information you need before you go.

  1. Who do you want to see in each country and what do you want to try to find out?
  2. What problems do you anticipate with regard to making sense of what you are told and what you observe?
  3. What problems do you anticipate with regard to generalizing across your findings from the other regions of the world? Your board expects you to enumerate the opportunities for and the obstacles to cross-contextual learning.
  4. To what extent do you think that your findings will reveal ideas and strategies that will be helpful in the United States? What makes you think so?
  5. How ought you to deal with the skeptics on your board who feel that the laws, customs, regulations, ecosystems, and political systems in each country are too different for anything useful to come of a comparative analysis?


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