Factoring in societal culture in policy transfer design: The proliferation of private sponsorship of refugees

Daniel Bertram, Ammar Maleki, Niels Karsten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The Canadian model of private sponsorship schemes (PSS) for refugees is becoming an increasingly popular target for policy transfer in the field of migration. This article argues that the influence of societal culture on this transplanting process has played an underexplored role in the literature. We seek to provide original guidance for factoring in cultural elements into the policy transfer framework by demonstrating how specific design choices in PSS transfer display clear cultural associations. A tentative study of nine countries that have adopted different models of PSS corroborates this hypothesis empirically. Our preliminary findings suggest that cultural compatibility may indeed increase the effectiveness of a policy transfer in some instances, while culturally preferred choices being adopted in other cases may result in suboptimal design. This converse interplay indicates that cultural awareness constitutes a crucial element of successful transfer processes and stresses the need to adopt a culturally sensitive perspective more frequently and more explicitly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-271
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of International Migration and Integration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Comparative policy design
  • Cultural compatibility
  • Policy transfer
  • Private sponsorship
  • Resettlement

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