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Policy analysis with incredible certitude

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  • Charles Manski

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Northwestern University)

Abstract

Analyses of public policy regularly express certitude about the consequences of alternative policy choices. Yet policy predictions often are fragile, with conclusions resting on critical unsupported assumptions or leaps of logic. Then the certitude of policy analysis is not credible. I develop a typology of incredible analytical practices and gives illustrative cases. I call these practices conventional certitude, dueling certitudes, conflating science and advocacy, wishful extrapolation, illogical certitude, and media overreach.

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File URL: http://cemmap.ifs.org.uk/wps/cwp0411.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series CeMMAP working papers with number CWP04/11.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:cemmap:04/11

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Cited by:
  1. Muller, Sean, 2014. "Randomised trials for policy: a review of the external validity of treatment effects," SALDRU Working Papers 127, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  2. Hashem M. Pesaran & Ron P. Smith, 2011. "Beyond the DSGE Straitjacket," CESifo Working Paper Series 3447, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Hunt Allcott, 2012. "Site Selection Bias in Program Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 18373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Charles F. Manski, 2014. "Communicating Uncertainty in Official Economic Statistics," NBER Working Papers 20098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Whittington, Dale & Jeuland, Marc & Barker, Kate & Yuen, Yvonne, 2012. "Setting Priorities, Targeting Subsidies among Water, Sanitation, and Preventive Health Interventions in Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1546-1568.

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