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Faculty Research Working Paper Series
Richard Zeckhauser
Frank Plumpton Ramsey Professor of Political Economy
phone: (617)495-1174
fax: (617)384-9340
The Methodology of Positive Policy Analysis
Robert, Christopher, and Richard Zeckhauser. "The Methodology of Positive Policy Analysis." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP10-041, September 2010.
Abstract
Policy analyses frequently clash. Their disagreements stem from many sources, such as models, empirical estimates, values, who should have standing, and weighting of different criteria. We provide a simple taxonomy of disagreement, identifying distinct categories within both the positive and value domains. Using disagreements in climate policy to illustrate, we demonstrate how illuminating the structure of disagreement can help to clarify the way forward. We conclude by suggesting a structure for new policy analysis that can facilitate assessment, comparison, and debate by making clear the likely sources of disagreement.
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