Researching cross-national policy mobilities in crime control

Trevor Jones, Jarrett Blaustein, Tim Newburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The empirical study of ‘policy transfer’ and related topics remains a relatively rare enterprise in criminology. Comparative studies of crime control policy tend to focus on broader structural explanations on the one hand, or more specific socio-cultural analyses on the other. By contrast, scholars from other disciplinary traditions – including political science, public administration, comparative social policy and human geography – have developed a vibrant body of empirical research into the dynamics and impacts of cross-jurisdictional flows of policy ideas, programmes and practices. This research provides helpful methodological pointers to criminologists interested in carrying out such work within the field of crime control. This article argues that the relative lack of empirical research on cross-national crime policy movement arises from two main factors: first, a generalised sense that the topic is of rather minor importance and second, a lack of methodological clarity about how such research might proceed. Such methodological barriers have arguably been further strengthened by major critiques of the political science frameworks of ‘policy transfer’ that have been influential in the field. We view cross-national policy movement as an important subject for empirical criminological inquiry, and consider extant methodological approaches and potential future directions, drawing in particular on wider work within political science and human geography. There is significant potential for criminologists to learn from, and contribute to, the methodological approaches deployed by researchers from other disciplines and thus enhance knowledge about the concept of policy mobilities.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalCriminology and Criminal Justice
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2019


  • Comparative criminology
  • crime control policy
  • ethics
  • methodology
  • policy mobilities
  • policy transfer

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