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Pathologies of policy learning: what are they and how do they contribute to policy failure?

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We analyse policy failure as a degeneration of policy learning. Analytically, we drill down on one type – epistemic learning. This is the realm of evidenced-based policymaking (EBPM), where experts advise decision-makers on issues of technical complexity. Empirically, we present the management of bovine tuberculosis (BTB) in England since 1997 as a failure of epistemic learning. Drawing on elite interviews and documentary analysis, weaknesses in government's management of its relationship with an epistemic community are analysed as problems of learning about different aspects of organisational capacity. We conclude discussing the value of learning theories as conceptual lenses for policy failure.
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Keywords: BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS (BTB); EPISTEMIC COMMUNITIES; EPISTEMIC LEARNING; POLICY FAILURE; POLICY LEARNING

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January, 2017

This article was made available online on November 7, 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "Pathologies of policy learning: What are they and how do they contribute to policy failure?".

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