How do different sources of policy analysis affect policy preferences? Experimental evidence from the United States

  • Grant D. JacobsenEmail author
Research Article


Analysis of policy options is often unavailable or only available from non-governmental research organizations (“think tanks”) that may have explicit or implicit political biases. This paper experimentally examines how voters respond to policy analysis and how the response varies when the analysis is produced by a nonpartisan organization versus a liberal or conservative organization. The key result is that individuals, on average, are responsive to all types of analysis, but most strongly responsive to analysis produced by nonpartisan organizations. Analysis from an ideologically slanted organization is less effective because individuals tend to ignore analysis that is produced by a partisan organization that does not share their own ideology. The results suggest that increasing the amount of information that the public receives based on nonpartisan analysis may increase the diffusion of information on policy features into the public and reduce polarization in public opinion.


Policy advisory systems Policy analysis Think tanks Voter behavior 



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Planning, Public Policy, and ManagementUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

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