Thomas, John. "Institutional Innovation and the Prospects for Transference, Part I: Transferring Singaporean Institutions to Suzhou, China." KSG Faculty Research Working Papers Series RWP02-001, September 2001.
The transfer of institutions from one country to another is an important means of learning and problem solving. Unfortunately, many such transfers have yielded disappointing results because the proponents neglect to analyze the contextual fit in the recipient country. This article examines the initiative of China and Singapore to create a new industrial city in Suzhou, China, based on Singaporean institutions. The difficulties of this endeavor, which led to Singapore turning over the lead-role to China in 2000, offer valuable lessons about the importance of context, of assessing presumed support, and of “ownership” in institutional transfers.