How Research Affects Policy: Experimental Evidence from 2,150 Brazilian Municipalities
Juan Francisco Santini
- American Economic Review (Forthcoming)
Can research findings change political leaders' beliefs and policies?
We use experiments with 2,150 Brazilian municipalities to
measure mayors' demand for and response to research information.
In one experiment, we find that mayors are willing to pay
to learn the results of evaluation studies, and update their beliefs
when informed of the findings. They value larger-sample studies
more, while not distinguishing between studies in rich and poor
countries. In a second experiment, we find that informing mayors
about research on a simple and effective policy—taxpayer reminder
letters—increases the probability the policy is implemented by 10
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