Policy Learning and Institutional Amnesia

Panel Code

This panel will explore the theory and practice of policy learning with an additional focus on the issue of institutional amnesia. Each of the panel’s papers are connected by two themes. First, a concern to explore, both theoretically and empirically, the nature of policy learning in different institutional settings and different countries around the world. This concern is grounded in an acknowledgement that the study of policy learning requires a greater degree of theoretical cohesion and a more robust empirical basis, ideally generated through comparative data. Second, an interest in exploring the relationship between policy learning and institutional memory and amnesia. While we know a lot about the nature of learning within government and the outcomes that are produced via learning episodes, much less is known about the dynamics which undermine lesson-learning gains. In this regard, institutional amnesia offers a potentially salient explanatory variable that can tell us a great deal about how policy learning progress is undone across time. The papers in this panel will explore that saliency from governance and policy perspectives.