Here is a question I posted on social media, and one response.
Does the brilliance of public intellectuals, college professors, and noted book authors influence public policy where it improves the lives of working class Americans?
Yes it does. But the influence is through a cultural seep that is necessarily incremental.
The New Deal of FDR's America, which ushered in significant social changes essentially creating the white middle-class, was based on the arcane theories of British economist John Maynard Keynes; supply-side Reaganomics can be traced to economists Robert Mundell and Arthur Laffer; LBJ's Great Society is a Galbraithian (John Kenneth Galbraith) production with help from John Hicks, Franco Modigliani and even some left-leaning stuff from Jurgen Habermas. Dr. Kenneth Clark's 60s' theories and pathbreaking studies on how schools socialize racial inferiority still inform some school curricula --though not nearly enough.
In short, ideas nurtured in academia are absolutely essential to governmental policies. Of course, the decision on what studies to value remains a political one.
Influencing Public Policy: 400 Plus Podcast
Marc Sims talks with public intellectual Salim Muwakkil about influencing public policy.