What determines production and utilization of research for development?: The case of the Moroccan Ministry of Finance
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The paper deals with the issue of research production and utilization in the policy process, centering on the case of the Moroccan Ministry of Finance. After a critical review of the recent literature on this front, we have processed data from questionnaires designed for researchers and policymakers, using statistical and econometric tools. Our empirical analysis using a cross-researcher model indicates that more quantitative and qualitative researches are combined more the supplied research has more chance to be internalized and applied in the policymaking process. This is confirmed by the statistical investigation of research impact and influence using data from a quantifiable questionnaire for policymakers. This suggests that education and research institutions in Morocco should work in favor of enhancing capacity-building to foster logical thinking and help students, and future and current researchers to understand how data may be collected and how they should be processed in order to grasp public policies at the three main stages of problem definition, implementation and evaluation/monitoring. An efficient statistical apparatus should be set up in order to facilitate the canalization of data to researchers. However, it is important to stress that the combination of qualitative and quantitative analyses is not sufficient to boost research utilization and strengthen research impact on policy. As highlighted through our empirical analysis using data from quantifiable questionnaires for researchers and policymakers, research communication and digestibility efforts are required. As soon as policymakers consider ‘external’ research as less communicable, too much theoretical and vague, research will not be incorporated into the policymaking process. Perception of policymakers about research quality matters for research utilization and impact. When research is considered by policymakers as less pertinent/relevant, less credible and inadequate to meet their needs and expectations, its chance to be internalized and applied will be lower. To enhance research-policy links, researchers and policymakers should lessen to each other. Indeed, the degree of synergy between ‘external’ and ‘in-house’ researchers seems to be an important determinant of research utilization and impact in the Moroccan case. While such synergy may narrow the ‘cultural gap’ between the two communities of researchers and policymakers, it would also help ‘external’ researchers to better understand the policy arena and policymakers to be aware of the fact that conceptual and methodological approaches used in ‘external’ research institutions also matter for the understanding of public policies at the various stages of the policy process. Many researchers in Morocco declare that they are not interested in policy research because, according to them, there is not a “social demand” for research. As for policymakers, they declare that they are less interested in ‘external’ research because, according to them, there are fewer efforts from ‘external’ researchers to provide an efficient supply of a relevant policy research. Efforts should be made in the direction of a consensus between researchers and policymakers, permitting to improve research supply taking into consideration policy requirements as well as rigor of scientific analysis. We propose here to set up joint policy research units combining ‘in-house’ and ‘external’ researches. The ultimate objective is to better define design, implement and evaluate public policies for development and poverty alleviation.