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Biased Policy Professionals

Sheheryar Banuri, Stefan Dercon and Varun Gauri
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Sheheryar Banuri: University of East Anglia
Varun Gauri: World Bank

No 18-02, Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) from School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

Abstract: Although the decisions of policy professionals are often more consequential than those of individuals in their private capacity, there is a dearth of studies on the biases of policy professionals: those who prepare and implement policy on behalf of elected politicians. Experiments conducted on a novel subject pool of development policy professionals (public servants of the World Bank and the Department for International Development in the UK) show that policy professionals are indeed subject to decision making traps, including the effects of framing outcomes as losses or gains, and most strikingly, confirmation bias driven by ideological predisposition, despite having an explicit mission to promote evidence-informed and impartial decision making. These findings should worry policy professionals and their principals in governments and large organizations, as well as citizens themselves. A further experiment, in which policy professionals engage in discussion, shows that deliberation may be able to mitigate the effects of some of these biases.

Keywords: Biases; decision making; policy professionals; framing; confirmation bias; behavioural economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C90 H83 Z18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cdm and nep-exp
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Related works:
Journal Article: Biased Policy Professionals (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Biased Policy Professionals (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Biased Policy Professionals (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Biased Policy Professionals (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Biased policy professionals (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Biased policy professionals (2017) Downloads
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