Use Models for Policy Decisions <Thought>

08/27/2007

All policy descisions should be modeled.  People usually agree on the ends (everyone wants lower crime, economic growth and better education), they just don't agree on the best way to get there.

The modeling process should bring in experts and all stakeholders (especially the lobbyists) to create inputs and check assumptions.  It is a way of creating a common mental map of the issue.  After developing a model and learning from as much as you can from that, the policy should be run at a smaller local scale to see how it does in a real scenerio.  Change the model and assumptions as needed.  Only then, after it appears to have the desired effects, should you expand it to larger systems. 

And after that point, we should be prepared to have to adjust the policy as the system adapts to it.  The model will be a useful tool for making the correct adjustments.

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