The European Union may well be a learning organization, yet there is still confusion about the nature of learning, its causal structure and the normative implications. In this contribution we select four perspectives that address complexity, governance, the agency–structure nexus, and how learning occurs or may be blocked by institutional features. They are transactional theory, purposeful opportunism, experimental governance and the joint decision trap. We use the four cases to investigate how history and disciplinary traditions inform theory; the core causal arguments about learning; the normative implications of the analysis; the types of learning that are theoretically predicted; the meta-theoretical aspects and the lessons for better theories of the policy process and political scientists more generally.
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