Soft Governance, International Organizations and Education Policy Convergence

Comparing PISA and the Bologna and Copenhagen Processes

  • Tonia Bieber

Part of the Transformations of the State book series (TRST)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Framing Soft Governance, Education, and Convergence

  3. Switzerland: An Extreme Case

  4. Comparative Conclusions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 213-213
    2. Tonia Bieber
      Pages 215-241
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 259-273

About this book


This book examines the extent to which international organizations have shaped reforms in education and training in federalist countries with regards to policy convergence. In advanced democracies, international organizations have become increasingly influential in government activity. This also applies to policy fields that have traditionally been nearly exclusively regulated by the nation-state. How strong is their influence in policy fields like education where they rely on purely soft governance to stimulate national policies? From a political science perspective, three major initiatives are analyzed: the OECD’s PISA study, the European Bologna process and the European Union’s Copenhagen process. Within a few years, these initiatives have contributed to deep transformations within the education arena. This book elucidates the processes in which nation-states comply with these initiatives, using the examples of Switzerland and the United States.

Tonia Bieber is Policy Advisor to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany. Before, she was Senior Researcher at the Kolleg-Forschergruppe ‘Transformative Power of Europe’ of Otto-Suhr-Institute, Free University of Berlin, and at the Collaborative Research Center ‘Transformations of the State’, University of Bremen, Germany. She has published on multilevel governance, international organizations, European integration in education and training policies, and policy convergence. She is the co-editor of Shaping Inequalities: Welfare State Transformation and its Outcomes.


Europe Switzerland International Regulatory Competition OECD Direct Democracy Higher Education United States of America vocational education and training policy Bologna education education policy European Union (EU) Governance Government higher education international organizations PISA policy-making vocational education

Authors and affiliations

  • Tonia Bieber
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BremenBremenGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Education Education (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-47694-4
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-47695-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site