Policy Analysis with Incredible Certitude

29 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2011

See all articles by Charles F. Manski

Charles F. Manski

Northwestern University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: August 2011


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 give illustrative cases. I call these practices conventional certitude, duelling certitudes, conflating science and advocacy, wishful extrapolation, illogical certitude and media overreach.

Suggested Citation

Manski, Charles F., Policy Analysis with Incredible Certitude (August 2011). The Economic Journal, Vol. 121, Issue 554, pp. F261-F289, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1892630 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2011.02457.x

Charles F. Manski (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Economics ( email )

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