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.
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