Evidence-Based Policymaking: Promise, Challenges and Opportunities for Accounting and Financial Markets Research

Evidence-Based Policymaking: Promise, Challenges and Opportunities for Accounting and Financial Markets Research

Christian Leuz

Series number :

Serial Number: 
397/2018

Date posted :

April 26 2018

Last revised :

April 25 2018
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Keywords

  • Evidence-based policymaking • 
  • Cost-benefit analysis • 
  • regulation • 
  • Standard setting • 
  • Accounting • 
  • Finance • 
  • capital markets • 
  • causal inferences • 
  • political economy

The use of evidence and economic analysis in policymaking is on the rise, and accounting standard setting and financial regulation are no exception. This article discusses the promise of evidence-based policymaking in accounting and financial markets as well as the challenges and opportunities for research supporting this endeavor.

In principle, using sound theory and robust empirical evidence should lead to better policies and regulations. But despite its obvious appeal and substantial promise, evidence-based policymaking is easier demanded than done. It faces many challenges related to the difficulty of providing relevant causal evidence, lack of data, the reliability of published research, and the transmission of research findings. Overcoming these challenges requires substantial infrastructure investments for generating and disseminating relevant research. To illustrate this point, I draw parallels to the rise of evidence-based medicine. The article provides several concrete suggestions for the research process and the aggregation of research findings if scientific evidence is to inform policymaking. I discuss how policymakers can foster and support policy-relevant research, chiefly by providing and generating data. The article also points to potential pitfalls when research becomes increasingly policy-oriented.
 

Authors

Fellow, Research Member
The University of Chicago - Booth School of Business