Published Research

Research | American Journal of Political Science

Ideology, Learning, and Policy Diffusion: Experimental Evidence

Daniel M. Butler
Adam M. Dynes
Boris Shor
One of the benefits of American federalism is the ability for states and localities to try out new policies, keeping the successes, abandoning the failures, and learning from one another. However, in ideologically polarized times, this system of learning and policy diffusion may be under serious strain. To explore this possibility, we embedded experiments in surveys of local policymakers across the U.S. We offered vignettes of the policies tried in other communities and asked the local officials whether they wanted to learn more, perhaps to try similar policies at home. The policies were left-leaning government interventions in the areas of commercial zoning and home foreclosures. And, as may be expected, liberal-leaning officials were more interested in learning than were conservative officials. However, our study showed that interventions can overcome the observed conservative bias against learning about these policies. For the experimental component of our studies, we varied how the policies of others were described – as successes or failures, and as adopted by Republicans or Democrats. When described either as a success or as a policy previously tried by Republicans, conservatives became as interested in learning more as were liberals in the control condition. In the end, about two-thirds of them wanted to learn more about others’ experiences with the policies. On the whole, this study establishes that ideological biases do exist in the willingness of officials to consider new policies across American cities and towns. But those biases can be overcome under the right circumstances. Policymakers want to learn about what works, and will pay close attention to the experiences of co-partisans, even if they are initially ideologically predisposed against the policy in question.
January 2017
Research | International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management

The Role of Universities in Encouraging Growth of Technology-Based New Ventures

Bharat Rao
Jan 17 2017
Research | American Journal of Political Science

Ideology, Learning, and Policy Diffusion: Experimental Evidence

Daniel M. Butler, Adam Dynes, Boris Shor
Jan 2017
Research | Health Economics

Health Effects of Economic Crises

November 9, 2016
Research | Southern Economic Journal

The Changing Benefits of Early Work Experience

Charles L. Baum
Oct 2016
Research | Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis

How Effective are Federally Mandated Information Disclosures?

Arthur G. Fraas
Summer 2016
Research | Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis

Teacher Turnover, Teacher Quality, and Student Achievement in DCPS

Melinda Adnot
Thomas Dee
Veronica Katz
August 29, 2016
Research | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Slow Motion Increased Perceived Intent

Eugene M. Caruso
Zachary C. Burns
August 16, 2016
Research | Journal of Economic Perspectives

The Need for Accountability in Education in Developing Countries

Summer 2016
Research | Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

Driving technology innovation through social entrepreneurship at Prezi

Jill R. Kickul
Lisa K. Gundry
August 2016

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