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The Tea Party movement in the United States had a big impact on this year’s mid-term election. The energy it channeled can be seen as a pendulum shift from the progressive winds that were blowing in 2008. So what comes next?

Greg Mankiw (Harvard Economics Professor) posted this dramatic rallying cry on his blog this week. The sign, hoisted at a pre-election “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear,” presages what I believe we are going to see emerge as the major force for change in the United States in 2012 – a campaign for evidence-based policy! A large slice of the U.S. electorate is growing weary of fact-free policy and pseudo-science. I predict we will see house parties organized in the next few months to read and discuss back issues of CGD’s Evaluation Gap Newsletter. It won’t be long after that before they’ll be demanding that President Obama follows through on his stated commitment to make foreign aid “accountable” and cite Michael Clemens’ blog calling for programs like the Millennium Villages Project to do the research needed to see if they really represent a sustainable route out of poverty. The politicians that will ride this wave in 2012 are the ones who will be able to cite the meta-analyses that informed their platforms.

I think it is fitting that Mankiw posted this photograph. After all, the preface to his textbook, Principles of Economics, makes a case for why students should study economics. “As a voter, you help choose the policies that guide the allocation of society’s resources,” he writes. I think we even have evidence to support that claim.

[Thanks to Sarah Jane Staats who brought the photograph to my attention]