Policy analogs enable the application of insights from familiar domains to new contexts. They reference specific physical, legal, procedural, or economic properties that are shared between the source and target domains. Policy analogs deeply influence our thinking about international collaboration, regulation, and governance, and allow us to learn by appealing to case studies of what has already been done.
Analogs have been a particularly valuable tool in thinking about governance of new domains such as space. However, an over-reliance on specific analogs, such as the high seas or the commons, can “over fit” the domain, and create intellectual blinders that prevent new ideas from being explored.
The benefits of policy analogs depend as much on identifying their limitations as on similarities. Utilizing a diversity of analogs can mitigate shortcomings while helping to make space for sorely needed innovation and new approaches to uncharted domains.
Here, we introduce an array of potential analogs for lunar governance and summarises their uses and limitations.