Kristin Taylor, Nathan Jeschke & Stephanie Zarb
In spite of the best efforts of government, sometimes policies do not work as designed. As scholars of the policy process and citizens in a representative democracy, our normative expectation is that government should learn when policies do not work to improve outcomes for communities. This is especially true in the wake of a natural disaster. Disasters can serve as an opportunity for governments to engage in policy learning by updating beliefs about policies and learning lessons about policy tools, instruments, and politics. Often, disasters can reveal physical and social vulnerabilities and gaps in preparedness that unevenly distribute the risk of damage within a community. In our recent article in Policy & Politics , we investigate which conditions constrain or promote policy learning. Understanding these conditions is of critical importance in gaining a better understanding of why some governments learn to improve policies after a disaster and some do not.