This website is an academic project aggregating cases of public policy failures. These include such policies’ failures to achieve their stated ends, or their generation of unintended consequences.

This project’s editors strive to accurately describe and label each failure. Therefore, each example is grouped into one of three carefully-designed categories (below).

Descriptive Statistic

These are just simple statements or facts. For example, the US Post Office has recorded billion-dollar losses annually for years.


These results are just correlations, and thus it would be improper to draw causal inferences on the basis of this data alone.

Causal Design

Given the design of the study, it is appropriate to draw causal inferences in interpreting these results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do your examples come from?
The majority come from peer-reviewed papers in economics or related disciplines. However, a few are from working papers or data posted on a website.

Are you saying government never works?
No. But economic theory gives us plenty of reasons to believe that interactions taking place in the context of private property, contract, and consent will outperform those where this institutional setting is absent.

Who runs this site?
A Ph.D. economist and seasoned digital entrepreneur, both of whom will remain nameless (for now).