Researcher Bias and Influence: How Do Different Sources of Policy Analysis Affect Policy Preferences?

37 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2017

See all articles by Grant Jacobsen

Grant Jacobsen

University of Oregon - Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management

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, Researcher Bias and Influence: How Do Different Sources of Policy Analysis Affect Policy Preferences? (August 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3044895 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3044895

Grant Jacobsen (Contact Author)

University of Oregon - Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management ( email )

1280 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
United States

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