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The Methodology of Positive Policy Analysis

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  • Robert, Christopher

    (Harvard University)

  • Zeckhauser, Richard

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

Policy analyses frequently clash. Their disagreements stem from many sources, such as models, empirical estimates, values, who should have standing, and weighting of different criteria. We provide a simple taxonomy of disagreement, identifying distinct categories within both the positive and value domains. Using disagreements in climate policy to illustrate, we demonstrate how illuminating the structure of disagreement can help to clarify the way forward. We conclude by suggesting a structure for new policy analysis that can facilitate assessment, comparison, and debate by making clear the likely sources of disagreement.

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Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp10-041.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp10-041

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  1. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 703-724, September.
  2. Geoffrey Heal, 2009. "Climate Economics: A Meta-Review and Some Suggestions for Future Research," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(1), pages 4-21, Winter.
  3. Morris, Stephen, 1995. "The Common Prior Assumption in Economic Theory," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 227-253, October.
  4. William N. Trumbull, 1990. "Who has standing in cost-benefit analysis?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(2), pages 201-218.
  5. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  6. Stavins, Robert, 2007. "Addressing Climate Change with a Comprehensive U.S. Cap-and-Trade System," Working Paper Series rwp07-053, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  7. Rodrik, Dani, 2010. "Diagnostics Before Prescription," Scholarly Articles 8057678, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  8. William D. Nordhaus, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 686-702, September.
  9. Schelling, Thomas C, 1992. "Some Economics of Global Warming," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 1-14, March.
  10. Summers, Lawrence & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2008. "Policymaking for Posterity," Working Paper Series rwp08-040, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  11. Partha Dasgupta, 2008. "Discounting climate change," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 141-169, December.
  12. Hylland, Aanund & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1979. " Distributional Objectives Should Affect Taxes but not Program Choice or Design," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(2), pages 264-84.
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