It is assumed that research based on empirical data produces factual insight that can be used to guide evidence based policies. However, researchers may tend to specify models based on prior beliefs and construe results accordingly. In this paper, we argue that greater scrutiny is needed along the research process to acknowledge and communicate the limitations of research findings. To illustrate, we review two empirical papers from applied economists aimed at influencing policy. Each paper is analysed to identify how inferences based on prior beliefs are used to specify models and how this impacts the result. Additionally, consideration is given to the sensitivity of results under alternative assumptions. While we do find that the considered papers provide valuable knowledge to the field of agriculture economics, they fail in disclosing the limitations of their results to decision makers, thus undermining considerably their policy relevance. Finally, approaches to increase objectivity in empirical research are considered.

View the document

Latest Publications

2017s-12 WP
Policy relevance of applied economist: Examining sensitivity and inferences
Maurice Doyon, Stéphane Bergeron et Lota Dabio Tamini
View the document

2017RP-03 PR
La surqualification professionnelle chez les diplômés des collèges et des universités : État de la situation au Québec
Brahim Boudarbat et Claude Montmarquette
View the document

2017s-11 WP
The social cost of contestable benefits
Arye Hillman et Ngo Van Long
View the document

2017s-09 WP
Fiscal Surprises at the FOMC
Dean Croushore et Simon van Norden
View the document

Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis of Organizations
1130 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, suite 1400
Montréal, Québec (Canada) H3A 2M8
(514) 985-4000
(514) 985-4039

© 2017 CIRANO. All rights reserved.

Partner of :