NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Policy Analysis with Incredible Certitude

Charles F. Manski

NBER Working Paper No. 16207
Issued in July 2010
NBER Program(s):   PE   POL

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. Then the certitude of policy analysis is not credible. This paper develops a typology of incredible analytical practices and gives illustrative cases. I call these practices conventional certitudes, dueling certitudes, conflating science and advocacy, and wishful extrapolation. I contrast these practices with my vision for credible policy analysis.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16207

Published: Charles F. Manski, 2011. "Policy Analysis with Incredible Certitude," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(554), pages F261-F289, 08. citation courtesy of

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