In recent decades, the policy sciences have struggled to come to terms with the significance of inaction in public policy. Inaction refers to instances when policymakers ‘do nothing’ about societal issues. This article aims to put the study of inaction on a new footing. It presents a five-part typology of forms of inaction before focusing on detail on core drivers of inaction found at four policy-making loci: individuals (coping behaviour), public organisations (information pathologies), governments (agenda control and protection) and networks (non-coordination and lack of feasibility). Acknowledging the conceptual and methodological challenges of researching inaction, it concludes by identifying strategies for putting ‘doing nothing’ (back) on the research agenda of the policy sciences.