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Talk: The Evidence-to-Policy Pipeline

May 9, 2024 330

Recent years have seen a large increase in the availability of rigorous impact evaluations that could inform policy decisions. However, it is not enough for evidence to exist: It must also be seen as relevant and correctly interpreted. In this talk, Univerity of Toronto economist Eva Vivalt will share new research (with Aidan Coville and Sampada KC) drawing on experiments conducted with policymakers, practitioners, and researchers at World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank workshops. They explored how each of these three groups respond to and weigh evidence when it is presented to them, and which types of evidence policymakers tend to weigh more heavily. They find greater weight placed on good news than bad, insensitivity to confidence intervals, and that policymakers were extremely sensitive to context and whether the evidence or recommendation was produced locally. After presenting results, Vivalt will discuss what researchers can do to make it more likely that their findings are used.

Headshot of Eva Vivalt

Vivalt is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Toronto. She specializes in investigating stumbling blocks to generate evidence-based policy decisions, including both methodological issues as well as how evidence is interpreted and used. Professor Vivalt has published in Science, the Journal of the European Economics Association and the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, among other outlets. She is a co-founder of the Social Science Prediction Platform — which coordinates the collection of forecasts of research results in the social sciences, and founder of AidGrade, a research institute that generates and synthesizes evidence in international development. Professor Vivalt is also a principal investigator on Y Combinator Research’s basic income renewed computer technology RCT and has other interests in labor economics, development and global priorities research.

The talk is part of the Social Science Research Council’s College and University Fund for the Social Sciences lecture series. The fund is a network of nearly 50 research institutions that support SSRC’s work to foster innovative and solutions-oriented social and behavioral science. In this virtual lecture series, faculty from College and University Fund member institutions share their work to understand how to pursue research that solves problems.

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is an independent, international, nonprofit organization founded in 1923. It fosters innovative research, nurtures new generations of social scientists, deepens how inquiry is practiced within and across disciplines, and mobilizes necessary knowledge on important public issues. The Council collaborates with practitioners, policymakers, and academic researchers in the social sciences, related professions, and with colleagues in the humanities and natural sciences. We build interdisciplinary and international networks, work with partners around the world to link research to practice and policy, strengthen individual and institutional capacities for learning, and enhance public access to social knowledge.

View all posts by Social Science Research Council

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