Cover: Public Policy in an Uncertain World: Analysis and Decisions, from Harvard University PressCover: Public Policy in an Uncertain World in HARDCOVER

Public Policy in an Uncertain World

Analysis and Decisions

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$49.50 • £39.95 • €44.50

ISBN 9780674066892

Publication Date: 02/18/2013

Text

224 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

1 graph, 3 tables

World

Public policy advocates routinely assert that “research has shown” a particular policy to be desirable. But how reliable is the analysis in the research they invoke? And how does that analysis affect the way policy is made, on issues ranging from vaccination to minimum wage to FDA drug approval? Charles F. Manski argues here that current policy is based on untrustworthy analysis. By failing to account for uncertainty in an unpredictable world, policy analysis misleads policy makers with expressions of certitude. Public Policy in an Uncertain World critiques the status quo and offers an innovation to improve how policy research is conducted and how policy makers use research.

Consumers of policy analysis, whether civil servants, journalists, or concerned citizens, need to understand research methodology well enough to properly assess reported findings. In the current model, policy researchers base their predictions on strong assumptions. But as Manski demonstrates, strong assumptions lead to less credible predictions than weaker ones. His alternative approach takes account of uncertainty and thereby moves policy analysis away from incredible certitude and toward honest portrayal of partial knowledge. Manski describes analysis of research on such topics as the effect of the death penalty on homicide, of unemployment insurance on job-seeking, and of preschooling on high school graduation. And he uses other real-world scenarios to illustrate the course he recommends, in which policy makers form reasonable decisions based on partial knowledge of outcomes, and journalists evaluate research claims more closely, with a skeptical eye toward expressions of certitude.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Photograph of Lessons from Plants, by Beronda L. Montgomery, from Harvard University Press, placed on sunny table next to leafy green potted plant and desk organizer

What Have We Learned from Plants?

For Beronda L. Montgomery, the author of Lessons from Plants, the undisturbed growth of plants has been a reminder that life moves along, even in the most difficult times. In her new book, Montgomery shows how plant behavior and adaptation can offer valuable insights for human thriving. Her recent article in Elle on how plants have been a beacon of hope for her and many others during the pandemic inspired us at Harvard University Press to think about how plants have also helped us during this past year of working from home