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The Methodology of Positive Policy Analysis

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  • Robert, Christopher LeBaron
  • Zeckhauser, Richard Jay

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard Kennedy School of Government in its series Scholarly Articles with number 4450129.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Publication status: Published in HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series
Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:4450129

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  1. Victor R. Fuchs & Alan B. Krueger & James M. Poterba, 1998. "Economists' Views about Parameters, Values, and Policies: Survey Results in Labor and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1387-1425, September.
  2. Rodrik, Dani, 2010. "Diagnostics Before Prescription," Scholarly Articles 8057678, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Lawrence H. Summers & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 2008. "Policymaking for Posterity," NBER Working Papers 14359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  8. 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.
  9. Alan B. Krueger & David Card, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1397-1420, December.
  10. Morris, Stephen, 1995. "The Common Prior Assumption in Economic Theory," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 227-253, October.
  11. 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.
  12. Partha Dasgupta, 2008. "Discounting climate change," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 141-169, December.
  13. 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.
  14. Schelling, Thomas C, 1992. "Some Economics of Global Warming," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 1-14, March.
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