How Do Different Sources of Policy Analysis Affect Policy Preferences? Experimental Evidence from the United States
Policy Sciences 52(3): 315-342
37 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2017 Last revised: 6 Feb 2021
Date Written: August 1, 2017
Analyses of policy options are often unavailable or only available from think tanks that may have political biases. This paper experimentally examines how voters respond to policy analysis and how the response differs when a nonpartisan, liberal, or conservative organization produces the analysis. Partisan organizations are effective at influencing individuals that share their ideology, but individuals collectively are most responsive to analysis produced by nonpartisan organizations. This pattern holds consistently across several areas of policy. The results suggest that increasing the availability of nonpartisan analysis would increase the diffusion of information into the public and reduce political polarization.
Keywords: policy analysis, think tanks, voter behavior, researcher bias
JEL Classification: D72, H11, H41, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation