Presidential address- Seeing through the fog
All public policies have two things in common. They deal with the future and, as a result, they are based on forecasts or projections. The forecasts or projections may be implicit or based on naive extrapolation or ad hoc assumptions. They may be explicit and based on elaborate extrapolations or on behavioral models. In either case, unfortunately, they are notoriously unreliable. In fact, they almost always are wrong-sometimes just a bit wrong, but often massively wrong. Nonetheless, forecasts are what distinguishes reasoned planning from blind action. Without forecasts, we would be totally at sea. That we have to use forecasts or projections, that we know they will be wrong, and that they usually are wrong raise some difficult questions for policy analysis and policymaking. Regrettably, in my view, they receive too little attention.2 My purpose today is to urge that they receive more. My comments are intended to make four points. First, it is important for policymakers to appreciate how errorprone forecasts and projections actually are. Second, it is important not to permit the availability of projections or forecasts to obscure fundamental policy questions that are important in any plausible scenario. Third, uncertainty means that, where possible, it is prudent to design policies with builtin flexibility that respond automatically to diverse possible outcomes. Fourth, where builtin flexibility is impossible, complete analyses should take into account the consequences if forecasts prove wrong, and weigh those consequences against the results of postponing action until information improves or against other policies under the plausible range of possible outcomes. © 2000 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.
To our knowledge, this item is not available for
download. To find whether it is available, there are three
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.
Volume (Year): 19 (2000)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979.
"Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
7656, David K. Levine.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
- Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin A. Hassett, 1999. "Uncertainty and the Design of Long-Run Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 7036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1998. "Perspectives on the Social Security Crisis and Proposed Solutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 142-50, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:19:y:2000:i:2:p:193-206. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)or (Christopher F. Baum)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.