Politicians and lobbyists alike dream of the silver bullet: a single killer piece of scientific evidence that will change all our minds about future policymaking. But could any simple piece of evidence have the power to beat big ideas in public debate? And can evidence garner political attention even when the politicians don’t go looking for it?
Dr Leire Rincón García’s field research on the policy of Universal Basic Income seems to suggest that the answer is ‘no’. In this episode, Dr Rincón and Toby Wardman together debate why parliamentarians were more likely to ignore emails that cited evidence, what could be done about it, and whether there is a defensible role for the ‘activist scientist’ in policy advice.