British Columbia's fast ferries and Sydney's Airport Link: Partisan barriers to learning from policy failure

Joshua Newman, Malcolm G. Bird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Policy learning, where experiences from other jurisdictions and time periods inform decision making, has been suggested as a way to improve policy outcomes. Failures can be important to the learning process as examples of instruments and ideas to avoid, but episodes in which failure did not lead to lessons learned or to improved public policy are abundant. In this article, we propose some conditions that can prevent governments from learning from policy failure. With the help of cases from Canada and Australia, we outline a scenario in which partisanship can encourage governments to exacerbate failure rather than repair it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-85
Number of pages15
JournalPolicy and Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • British Columbia fast ferries
  • Policy failure
  • Policy learning
  • Sydney aiport link

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