Ideological Alignment and EvidenceBased Policy Adoption
with Pedro Rey (ESADE Business School)
Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)
Maison des Sciences Humaines
11, Porte des Sciences
L-4366 Esch-sur-Alzette / Belval
Room 0.517 of MSH
02:00 pm
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We examine the impact of ideological alignment between institutions disseminating research findings and policymakers on the adoption of evidence-based policies. We conduct a country-wide RCT in which two ideologically opposite prominent think tanks, two major newspapers, and a research institution with nonsalient ideology communicate identical information about a low-cost, non-ideological, and effective policy based on published research findings to a large sample of Spanish local policymakers. We measure the direct impact of information on policy adoption. We find that the mere provision of information is insufficient for policy adoption. However, when the informing institution aligns ideologically with policymakers, the communication of research results leads to a more than 65% increase in policy adoption. In contrast, the effect is halved when the institution’s ideology is nonsalient and null when it is the opposite. Both communication instruments - policy briefs and newspaper articles- are equally effective in increasing policy adoption. We propose a three-stage conceptual framework of policy adoption processes - selective exposure to information, belief updating, and policy implementation. We show that ideological alignment does not influence selective exposure to information. However, evidence from a post-intervention online experiment
suggests that ideological alignment affects belief updating regarding the recommended policy’s effectiveness and subsequent implementation. Finally, we discuss the trade-offs between effectiveness and outreach when using ideologically aligned and nonsalient institutions to disseminate research evidence and comment on the economic impact of ideological alignment for policy implementation.


More about the 3E DTU

The Doctoral Training Unit (DTU) 3E - Experiments, Ethics and Economics - consists of an interdisciplinary consortium of 9 social scientists who use scientific experiments involving human subjects in their research. The objective of the consortium is to create a formal link for collaboration across the three existing social science research laboratories in Luxembourg, with the aim to push forward the state-of-the-art of what we know about human behavior in economic interactions. The DTU 3E gathers members across 5 Luxembourgish research units:

(1) Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research LISER
(2) Institute for Health and Behavior IHB (Faculty of Humanities FLSHASE, University of Luxembourg UL)
(3) Institute of Cognitive Science and Assessment COSA (FLSHASE, UL)
(4) Luxembourg School of Finance LSF (Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance FDEF, UL)
(5) Luxembourg Centre of Logistics LCL (Economics Research Centre CREA, FDEF, UL)

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