12 February 2024

Guy Peters and Maximilian Nagel explore the policies that continued to be tried despite never working – ‘zombie policies’ – and how we can transcend these patterns.

Ideas are important as a foundation for public policy, but they can also become ‘zombie ideas’ which survive even though they have been proven to be ineffective. Both the political right and the political left have their own zombie ideas, and when there is a change in government old ideas may return. This article presents the concept of zombie ideas and discusses its relevance for policy in New Zealand.

Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission commissioned this article for a special issue of Policy Quarterly on the theme ‘international perspectives on the future of public administration.

Zombie Ideas: Policy pendulum and the challenge of effective policymaking

Authors: B. Guy Peters and Maximilian L. Nagel
Format: Journal article
Date published: 12 February 2024