‘Context is King’ in bridging research and policy

Research Shaping Policy Session

Research Shaping Policy Session

The new buzzword around the world is ‘evidence-based policymaking’. But how effectively does research reach and inform policies in the real world, and what is the role of think tanks in bridging this divide? The Directors of three Think Tanks in Colombia, Chile and Equador shared tactical approaches in a session entitled Research Shaping Policy: Latin America’s Experience, and lived up to their reputation for ‘fierce debate’.

The GDNet-convened session highlighted how crucial  the political context is in shaping the effectiveness of think tank interventions in a country. For Orazio Belletini, Executive Director of FARO in Equador, rapid turnover of politicians is a constant problem: Ministers of Finance last an average of only six months in his country. Information is scarce, dispersed, highly technical and difficult for policymakers to use.  “The political landscape is characterised by ideological fragmentation and volatile coalitions”, he said. “By the time a researcher has finished his policy paper, the Minister interested in the results is no longer in office”.

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