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Policy Analysis with Incredible Certitude (WP-10-07)

Charles F. Manski

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. Manski develops a typology of incredible analytical practices and gives illustrative cases. He calls these practices conventional certitude, dueling certitudes, conflating science and advocacy, wishful extrapolation, illogical certitude, and media overreach.


Charles F. Manski, Board of Trustees Professor of Economics and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

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