The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Comparing blunders in Government

Comparing blunders in Government
Comparing blunders in Government
Much attention has been paid to ‘blunders’ and ‘policy disasters’. Some argue, on the one hand, that the UK’s political and administrative system is disproportionately prone to generating disasters, but offer no systematic evidence on the record of failures of policies and major public projects in other political systems. On the other hand, research on cognitive biases and other failures of collective decision-making has developed highly generic frameworks that are used to assess cases of perceived policy failure. Both of these perspectives rely on post-hoc assessments of failure and intentions, often from those actors involved in the process. This paper develops a comparative perspective on ‘blunders’ in government. It does so by (a) developing theory-driven expectations as to the factors that are said to encourage ‘failure’, and (b) by devising a systematic framework for the assessment of policy processes and outcomes. The paper applies this novel approach to a set of similar ‘failures’ in particular domains (i.e. in public buildings, transport infrastructure, IT projects, benefits/tax systems, and aerospace/defence projects) to assess whether different political-administrative systems are prone to different kinds of ‘blundering’ or whether there are universal patterns in the occurrence of costly and avoidable policy mistakes across policy domains
Jennings, Will
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Lodge, Martin
ccca8f20-f037-4302-aa5e-4e9b1e8f4018
Jennings, Will
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Lodge, Martin
ccca8f20-f037-4302-aa5e-4e9b1e8f4018

Jennings, Will and Lodge, Martin (2015) Comparing blunders in Government. U.K. Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Sheffield, United Kingdom. 29 - 31 Mar 2015.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

Much attention has been paid to ‘blunders’ and ‘policy disasters’. Some argue, on the one hand, that the UK’s political and administrative system is disproportionately prone to generating disasters, but offer no systematic evidence on the record of failures of policies and major public projects in other political systems. On the other hand, research on cognitive biases and other failures of collective decision-making has developed highly generic frameworks that are used to assess cases of perceived policy failure. Both of these perspectives rely on post-hoc assessments of failure and intentions, often from those actors involved in the process. This paper develops a comparative perspective on ‘blunders’ in government. It does so by (a) developing theory-driven expectations as to the factors that are said to encourage ‘failure’, and (b) by devising a systematic framework for the assessment of policy processes and outcomes. The paper applies this novel approach to a set of similar ‘failures’ in particular domains (i.e. in public buildings, transport infrastructure, IT projects, benefits/tax systems, and aerospace/defence projects) to assess whether different political-administrative systems are prone to different kinds of ‘blundering’ or whether there are universal patterns in the occurrence of costly and avoidable policy mistakes across policy domains

Text
JenningsLodgeComparativeBlunders_PSA2015.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
Download (542kB)

More information

Published date: March 2015
Venue - Dates: U.K. Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 2015-03-29 - 2015-03-31
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 376131
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/376131
PURE UUID: aa1e3415-ab6c-4040-b253-259cc6925bea
ORCID for Will Jennings: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9007-8896

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Apr 2015 12:41
Last modified: 12 Dec 2021 03:53

Export record

Contributors

Author: Will Jennings ORCID iD
Author: Martin Lodge

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×