Public Policy

Productive KnowledgePublic Policy

Shorter Simplified version

Keynes thought it would be ‘splendid’ if economists became more like dentists. Disciplinary economics
has instead become more like physics in focusing on concise, universal propositions verified
through decisive tests. This focus, I argue, limits the practical utility of the discipline because universal
propositions form only a part of new policy recipes. I further suggest that, as in engineering and
medicine, developing economic recipes requires eclectic combinations of suggestive tests and
judgement. Additionally, I offer a detailed example of how a simulation model can help evaluate
new policy combinations that affect the screening of loan applications.

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