Why Research (Does Not) Affect Policy?: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Political Bias

Last registered on June 13, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Why Research (Does Not) Affect Policy?: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Political Bias
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008967
Initial registration date
May 23, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
May 23, 2022, 7:25 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
June 13, 2022, 6:21 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
ESADE
PI Affiliation
London School of Economics
PI Affiliation
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
PI Affiliation
ESADE

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-05-25
End date
2022-10-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
One of the critical issues in bridging the divide between scientific evidence and policy is the "perceived credibility" of the evidence. Policymakers may be more or less inclined to follow scientific evidence if they believe the messenger, i.e. who presents the scientific evidence, has an ideological agenda. This may be true even in policy areas with a pressing need for scientific evidence and even when the evidence is produced with the highest scientific standards. This study tests whether the divergence in political biases between who send the evidence and the politician who receives it affects policy adoption using a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT). Exploiting a sample of all touristic municipalities in Spain, we send policymakers in these municipalities either a policy brief or a link to a newspaper article describing a high-quality scientific-evidence on a very low-cost and effective and uncontroversial policy to increase tourism. Furthermore, we create random variation in the identity of the source of the information to signal a possible ideological bias. We combine survey and administrative data to define our sample of treated and control municipalities and the random assignment to the different treatment arms. Ex post, we then compare different measures of interest in the scientific evidence and the recommended policy. Specifically, we investigate whether policy makers pay attention and read the recommended policy/ evidence and whether they eventually adopt the recommended policy.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Garcia Hombrados, Jorge et al. 2022. "Why Research (Does Not) Affect Policy?: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Political Bias." AEA RCT Registry. June 13. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8967
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
See pre-analysis plan
Intervention Start Date
2022-05-25
Intervention End Date
2022-06-29

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
See pre-analysis plan
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
See pre-analysis plan

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
See pre-analysis plan
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
See pre-analysis plan

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
See pre-analysis plan
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer. See pre-analysis plan for details.
Randomization Unit
Municipality level. See pre-analysis plan for details.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
5677 municipalities in the sample (No cluster in the analysis)
Sample size: planned number of observations
5677 municipalities in the sample
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
See pre-analysis plan for details:

Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
See pre-analysis plan
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
The committee on the use of human subjects in research
IRB Approval Date
2022-04-10
IRB Approval Number
012/2022
Analysis Plan

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