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

Abstract

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

Jacobsen, Grant, How Do Different Sources of Policy Analysis Affect Policy Preferences? Experimental Evidence from the United States (August 1, 2017). Policy Sciences 52(3): 315-342, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3044895 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3044895

Grant Jacobsen (Contact Author)

Oregon State University ( email )

Bexell Hall 200
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States

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