The Atlantic

Basing Laws on Nothing Is Easier Than Using Evidence

Partnerships between policy makers and researchers could improve the lives of millions—but they’re harder than you think.
Source: Marcio Jose Sanchez

For many economists, nothing is more exasperating than watching well-intentioned policies fall short because they were based on ideology, gut judgment, or something else besides sound evidence. In the now-infamous Kansas tax experiment, lawmakers made huge tax cuts in hopes of spurring economic growth—but ended up starving the state’s schools and infrastructure. In the short run, benefited tenants who lived in controlled units, but the policy ultimately contributed to rising rental prices citywide as affected properties off the market. , intended to help ex-offenders find jobs by prohibiting employers from inquiring about criminal histories, instead increased discrimination against young black and Hispanic men. , we have found that the presence of an equal-employment opportunity statement in job ads makes minority workers less likely to apply.  

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