Does anyone care for evidence?

…in Brazil, we work with 2,150 municipalities and their mayors. We use experiments to measure mayors’ demand for research information and their response to learning research findings. In one experiment, we find that mayors and other municipal officials are willing to pay to learn the results of impact evaluations, and update their beliefs when informed of the findings.
They value larger-sample studies more, while not distinguishing on average between studies conducted in rich and poor countries. In a second experiment, we find that informing mayors about research on a simple and effective policy (reminder letters for taxpayers) increases the probability that their municipality implements the policy by 10 percentage points.”

“.. We find that policy-makers care more about attributes of studies associated with external validity than internal validity, while for researchers the reverse is true. We also find evidence of asymmetric updating on good news relative to one’s prior beliefs and “variance neglect” — an insensitivity to confidence intervals. Finally, we show that information affects a real-life allocation decision”

“…policy-makers put the most weight on impact and whether it was recommended by a local expert, followed by some small weight on being an RCT.”



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