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It pays to be ignorant: A simple political economy of rigorous program evaluation

Lant Pritchett ()

Journal of Economic Policy Reform, 2002, vol. 5, issue 4, 251-269

Abstract: This paper attempts to explain the scarcity of rigorous evaluations of public policy. I build a positive model to explain the "stylized fact" that there is under investment in the creation of reliable empirical knowledge about the impacts of public sector actions. The model shows how "advocates" of particular issues or solutions - the public action equivalent of entrepreneurs - have incentives to under invest in knowledge creation because having credible estimates of the impact of their preferred program may undermine their ability to mobilize political (budgetary) support.

Keywords: Program Evaluation; Bureaucracy; Issue Advocates (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2002
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