chapter  11
22 Pages

Explaining policy disasters in Europe: comparisons and reflections: Mark Bovens, Paul’t Hart and B.Guy Peters

Perhaps the most important aspect of policy failure and policy disasters is how mundane they really are. Policies fail regularly, and they continue to fail for many of the reasons that have contributed to the failure of policies for decades, if not centuries. Very few, if any, policy-makers set out believing that their prized plans and programmes are going to fail, but many do, and they often do so because they appear not to have learned from the experiences of other similar cases. Further policies often fail not so much because of their own inherent defects but because they are components of a larger universe of public policies that fail to mesh together properly. Again, the failure to coordinate has been endemic in government, but there has been very little improvement in the ‘horizontal management’ of governments despite the long recognition of the problem (Peters 1997).