This research study investigated the reasons behind the maintenance of ineffective policies, by examining the Dutch case of the Independent Unsupervised Return Policy. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 officials from the policymaking, policy execution, municipal and assisting levels. The analysis explored the reasons for policy ineffectiveness and showed that the maintenance of ineffective policies results from several factors. The first factor is ineffective interaction and the inability to agree on a common policy between the different levels of involved authority. The second factor is the inability to make changes to the policy due to high political costs, as well as the risk of losing economic and political advantages delivered by the current policy. The third factor is the absence of policy learning, which is required for policy change. The final factor relates to the lack of authority and limited margin of manoeuvre stemming from the rule of law and the European legal framework, as well as the perceived lack of resources and political support needed to initiate change. This research study concludes that, the advantages delivered by the ineffective policy are more important than the policy’s overall effectiveness.

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Dr. Asya Pisarevskaya, Prof. Dr. Peter Scholten
Public Administration
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Sherry Ebrahim. (2022, August 16). Ineffective but Advantageous. Public Administration. Retrieved from