I am a PhD candidate in Economics at the London School of Economics (LSE.) I will be on the job market in 2023/2024. 

I study the interaction between policymaking and academic research, focusing on how politics shapes research projects and how research is utilized in policy decisions.

My job market paper looks at how partnerships between policymakers and researchers are formed, and how they impact evidence uptake. 

You can find my CV here.

Email: a.m.bonargent@lse.ac.uk



Can Research with Policymakers Change the World?

Coverage: Marginal Revolution, VoxDev

Over the past two decades, economists have increasingly sought to collaborate with policymakers in designing and executing research projects, as a way to achieve greater policy relevance. However, the extent to which such partnerships lead to actual policy changes remains underexplored, partly due to the lack of available data. To address this question, I construct a unique dataset of over 500 academic research projects in the field of development economics, which includes information on the level of policymakers’ involvement at the proposal stage and tracks changes in policy decisions observed following project implementation. Projects developed in partnership with policymakers are 17 to 20 percentage points more likely to result in observed policy change. This relationship is fully conditional on academic achievement (i.e., publication), suggesting that it does not result from a sorting of policymakers into policy-oriented studies of limited academic value. Local political conditions affect when and where these partnerships are formed. I identify a “window of opportunity” for researcher-policymaker partnerships coinciding with the election cycle: these collaborations most often occur earlier in the term when political conditions are conducive to experimentation and reform. 


How Do Researchers Communicate with Policymakers?

The project employs natural language processing and machine learning methods to analyse the communication of academics with their peers and practitioners. This research leverages different outputs from researchers, including research papers, publications, policy briefs, blog posts, and reports. The application of content analysis algorithms allows to differentiate between the substance and thematic elements of academic-oriented versus policy-oriented outputs. By examining these variations, the project seeks to identify patterns and features linked to higher rates of evidence adoption by policymakers, thus shedding light on the most effective ways of communicating research findings in policy-relevant formats. 

Understanding Selection Committee Decisions in Research Grant Awards 

This project investigates the decision-making processes of selection committees that award research grants, focusing on their ability to predict academic and policy outcomes. This analysis utilizes two unique data sources: detailed records of the internal deliberations of selection committees, which include assessments of research proposals by individual committee members and minutes from board meetings, and data on the academic and policy impacts of the selected projects. The preferences of committee members and their ability to predict research outcomes are estimated through a model of assessment behaviour, which allows to compare results across individual characteristics, such as whether members are academics or practitioners. 

Learning or Herding? Mechanisms of Policy Diffusion among Practitioners



Economics for Public Policy (EC230) at LSE, 2018-2021 

(taught by Mohan Bijapur and Daniel Sturm)  



© Alix Bonargent 2023