Author(s): Barrera-Osorio, Felipe; Berlinski, Samuel; Busso, Matias
Pages: 7 p.
Evidence matters for the effectiveness of public policies, but important informational frictions - that is, resistance to obtaining or using information on the subject at hand - sometimes prevent it from shaping policy decisions. Hjort et al. (2021) showed that reducing those frictions can change not only political leaders’ beliefs but also the policies they implement. One-way information, from research to policy, may sometimes be insufficient, though. Policymakers may be agnostic about the effectiveness of an intervention, or they may not know which of its features require adjustment. A process of policy experimentation may be needed (Duflo, 2017), in which policies are rigorously evaluated at a small scale, the findings of those evaluations inform the policy design, and a new evaluation determines the effectiveness of a fine-tuned version of the intervention, with the assessment continuing until the programme is ready to be scaled up. This process requires very close collaboration among government, implementers, and researchers.