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Stéphane Moyson and Peter Scholten

Policy learning designates the cognitive and social dynamic leading policy actors to revise or strengthen their policy beliefs and preferences over time. In this chapter, we propose a synthesis of existing research on policy learning. We distinguish three main sets of approaches – namely, the “managerialist” approaches, “diffusion and convergence” approaches, and “social learning” approaches – before pointing to their common characteristics: a consideration of the long run; a focus on the role not only of the state but also non-state actors in policy processes; and a recognition that policy actors’ rationality is “bounded”. Then, we discuss three challenges for future research: deepening our knowledge of the behavioural aspects of policy learning; recognizing and studying the multiple outcomes of policy learning; and looking for settings and practices fostering or impeding policy learning.

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Stéphane Moyson, Steven van de Walle and Sandra Groeneveld

In Chapter 9 Moyson, Van de Walle and Groeneveld take a critical look at the views public officials have of citizens, in particular their level of trust toward citizens’ ability, integrity and benevolence, when engaging in administrative interactions. Public officials’ trust is essential in interactive governance, because it may stimulate the compliance and trust of citizens toward public administration. In turn, this may increase the effectiveness of public service delivery. Public officials’ trust builds over time when they have interactions with trustworthy citizens. Hence, trust between public officials and citizens is at the same time an essential requirement for interactive governance and an outcome of such interactions. Extensive research thus far has not yet revealed many individual factors of officials’ trust toward citizens or their perceptions of citizens’ trustworthiness. In addition, few studies have been conducted on the institutional and organizational factors of trust and trustworthiness. Moyson et al. discuss this research and subsequently suggest avenues for future studies.