Policy Analysis with Incredible Certitude
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.
This research was supported in part by National Science Foundation grant SES-0911181. I am grateful for comments on aspects of this work from Joel Horowitz, Francesca Molinari, Daniel Nagin, and James Poterba. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Charles F. Manski, 2011. "Policy Analysis with Incredible Certitude," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(554), pages F261-F289, 08. citation courtesy of