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OU Researcher’s Study on the Transnational Policy Process Receives Top Honors


OU Researcher’s Study on the Transnational Policy Process Receives Top Honors



May 23, 2024

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Lorene Roberson
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NORMAN, OKLA. – A study co-authored by Michelle Morais, Ph.D., an associate professor in the David L. Boren College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma, has been awarded the best article of 2023 by the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice. The article explores the international diffusion and evolution of two public policies: conditional cash transfers and participatory budgeting.

Morais, in collaboration with Osmany Porto de Oliveira, Ph.D., from the Universidade Federal de São Paulo, conducted an in-depth comparative analysis of the policies, both of which originated in Brazil during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The article, titled “Incorporating Time into Policy Transfer Studies: A Comparative Analysis of the Transnational Policy Process of Conditional Cash Transfers and Participatory Budgeting,” introduces the concept of the “transnational policy process.”

Conditional cash transfer programs, implemented in over 40 countries according to Morais, aim to alleviate poverty by linking welfare benefits to recipients’ actions, such as ensuring school attendance for children or regular medical check-ups. Participatory budgeting empowers citizens to participate directly in the democratic process of allocating portions of public budgets, allowing them to prioritize and make decisions on public spending projects.

“This field has traditionally focused on single case studies, examining specific policies transferred from one location to another, whether within a single country or across borders. While these studies have been invaluable in tracing the trajectories of policy transfers and identifying why some policies succeed while others do not, our work emphasizes the importance of examining policies transferred multiple times across various locations over an extended period,” Morais said.

Morais notes that conditional cash transfers and participatory budgeting provide unique opportunities to trace their evolution over time, offering insights that short-term policy studies cannot capture.

The article marks a significant step toward creating a comprehensive understanding of the transnational policy process.

Michelle Morais, Ph.D..
Osmany Porto de Oliveira, Ph.D..

“Existing public policy theories predominantly focus on domestic factors influencing public policy. Our research repeatedly shows the critical role of transnational elements in shaping public policy across various countries,” Morais said.

Morais serves as the co-director of the Center for Brazil Studies at OU.

The journal granted free access to the article. Read the full study.

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit

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