While one would hope that legislators and policymakers would base their decisions on the best available empirical evidence, they are instead frequently governed by ideology. Many do not have the knowledge needed to sift through contradictory studies and reevaluate their opinions accordingly. In _Policy and Evidence in a Partisan Age_, Paul Wyckoff shows his talent for doing just that. His review of empirical research on timely domestic policy concerns demonstrates that many common beliefs about the effects of government action are false. He also makes sensible recommendations that, if followed, will teach policymakers to think in empirical terms. --John J. Donohue III, Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law, Yale Law School
_Policy and Evidence in a Partisan Age_ makes a strong case for the provocative claim that public policies have shown little leverage over the most politically salient behaviors. Based on evidence rather than either liberal or conservative ideology, it appears that government has much less opportunity than commonly believed to induce either good or bad behaviors. Stimulating demand during recessions, speeding up national or local economic growth, and increasing children's human capital through schooling all seem less amenable to government policy than is commonly believed. The author argues that such common beliefs will only be changed if we inculcate better empirical smarts, not just among the lawyers who dominate government, but also among our many undergraduate economics majors who often learn theory divorced from evidence. --David L. Weimer, Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science, University of Wisconsin Madison
About the Author
Paul Gary Wyckoff directs the public policy program at Hamilton College. He teaches courses in applied statistics, ethics, and cost-benefit analysis, as well as issue-oriented courses on topics such as health care reform, education policy, and Social Security reform. Professor Wyckoff studied economics and political science at Hamilton College and later received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan. Prior to coming to Hamilton, he held positions at the Federal Reserve and Indiana University. Professor Wyckoff has published in numerous journals, including the _Journal of Policy Analysis and Management_, the _Review of Economics and Statistics_, the _Journal of Urban Economics_, and the _Journal of Education Finance_. This is his first book.