International Diffusion of Development Knowledge: A Field Experiment on Officials' Responses to Impact Evidence in Peru
Sep 30, 2018
Darren Hawkins, Aubriana Wolferts, Daniel L. Nielson
Hawkins, D., Wolferts, A., & Nielson, D. L. (2018). International Diffusion of Development Knowledge: A Field Experiment on Officials' Responses to Impact Evidence in Peru. AidData Working Paper #65. Williamsburg, VA: AidData at William & Mary.
Scholars have produced thousands of policy impact evaluations in developing countries, yet studies show that policy makers do not use this high-quality evidence in policy decisions. Surveys suggest that policymakers want to use such evidence. One large problem is accessibility. We created a website that summarizes the findings of more than 400 studies in graphical and easily accessible ways. We tested different messaging techniques to identify which ones would produce the most policy maker interest in learning from this high-quality information. We carried out a randomized control trial in Peru with more than 2000government officials. We found that messenger nationality is crucial, with Peruvian officials favoring U.S.students over Peruvian students by wide margins. We found no effects for messenger gender, suggesting that gender norms do not play a role in messenger credibility. We also found that social proof, or telling officials that others were interested, had no effect.
Funding: This research was supported by AidData at the College of William and Mary and the USAID Global Development Lab through cooperative agreement AID-OAA-A-12-00096. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of AidData, USAID, or the United States Government.