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Making Economic Policy Research Influential: The Case of African Research

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  • Mesfin Bezuneh

    ()
    (Clark Atlanta University)

  • Carl Mabbs-Zeno

    ()
    (U.S. Department of State/Foreign Policy Analysis)

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    Abstract

    Economic policy research typically sets a challenge for itself that other forms of research do not face: to influence government officials to change their decisions or the way they make decisions. There is little in the training of most economists that addresses the method for accomplishing this ambition. Indeed, researchers often feel some frustration that they do not see their findings more clearly shaping policy of the Governments they are trying to influence. This frustration has been verified by objective determinations that policy makers seldom used knowledge gained through research on their specific issues, but the characterization that research is not used may be too stark since decision makers are subject to a wide range of influences that are themselves influenced by research.2 It is the direct linkage that is so often sought and missed. For example, although the model structural adjustment program (SAP) was well informed by research, individual country programs often were not, leading to the finding that one third of such programs failed due to poor policy environment under which they were instituted, i.e., due to poor design linkage to local policy conditions (Dollar and Svensson). Now that SAP is less popular, will our experience with Poverty Reduction Strategy papers be more productive?

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by African Finance and Economic Association in its journal Journal of African Development.

    Volume (Year): 14 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 109-126

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    Handle: RePEc:afe:journl:v:14:y:2011:i:1:p:109-126

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    Web page: http://afea.info/journal-of-african-development.html
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    Keywords: economics; policy; research; structural adjustment; Nigeria; Senegal; World Trade Organization;

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