I have spent the last 20+ years of my life doing academic research and popular writing on economics. I’ve been lucky, and my work has gotten a lot of exposure. I certainly have had a lot of fun along the way.
But, I think I can honestly say that no government has ever changed a law or a public policy as a result of my work. Sometimes politicians cite my research in pushing an agenda but having talked to these politicians, it is clear they had the agenda first, and then they went looking for research – any research – that would support their position. When I’ve taken unpopular stances (like saying children’s car seats don’t work well), there has never been even a sliver of political movement on the issue.
Finally, however, I think I may be on the verge of my first policy victory.