Evidence for policy-makers: A matter of timing and certainty?

Article by Wouter Lammers et al: “This article investigates how certainty and timing of evidence introduction impact the uptake of evidence by policy-makers in collective deliberations. Little is known about how experts or researchers should time the introduction of uncertain evidence for policy-makers. With a computational model based on the Hegselmann–Krause opinion dynamics model, we simulate how policy-makers update their opinions in light of new evidence. We illustrate the use of our model with two examples in which timing and certainty matter for policy-making: intelligence analysts scouting potential terrorist activity and food safety inspections of chicken meat. Our computations indicate that evidence should come early to convince policy-makers, regardless of how certain it is. Even if the evidence is quite certain, it will not convince all policy-makers. Next to its substantive contribution, the article also showcases the methodological innovation that agent-based models can bring for a better understanding of the science–policy nexus. The model can be endlessly adapted to generate hypotheses and simulate interactions that cannot be empirically tested…(More)”.

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