A Critical Assessment of Quantitative Methodology as a Policy Analysis Tool,
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CALIF
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Under a variety of names e.g., operations analysis, systems analysis, and cost-benefit analysis quantitative tools and methods have come to have a large and pervasive role in the analysis of public policy issues. The amount of effort devoted to quantitative analysis and the influence that this analysis has in the government planning and decision process make the question of what the role of quantitative methodology should be a question of legitimate concern for those who do, use, or rely on this type of analysis. This paper presents a critical assessment of that role, focusing primarily on the limitations of quantitative methodology as a tool for the analysis of soft and squishy i.e., without any well-defined mathematical formulation that unambiguously captures the substantive problem problems and on the distortions that result when those limitations are neglected. This assessment is followed by a preliminary attempt to outline a theory of judgmental analysis intended to explore the difficulties more fully and suggest directions for their resolution.
- Administration and Management
- Operations Research