- Introduction: Doing Philosophy of Social Science
- Micro, Macro, and Mechanisms
- Mechanisms, Causal Modeling, and the Limitations of Traditional Multiple Regression
- Process Tracing and Causal Mechanisms
- Descriptive-Causal Generalizations: “Empirical Laws” in the Social Sciences?
- Useful Complex Causality
- Partial Explanations in Social Science
- Mechanistic Social Probability: How Individual Choices and Varying Circumstances Produce Stable Social Patterns
- The Impact of Duhemian Principles on Social Science Testing and Progress
- Philosophy and the Practice of Bayesian Statistics in the Social Sciences
- Sciences of Historical Tokens and Theoretical Types: History and the Social Sciences
- RCTs, Evidence, and Predicting Policy Effectiveness
- Bringing Context and Variability Back into Causal Analysis
- The Potential Value of Computational Models in Social Science Research
- Models of Culture
- The Evolutionary Program in Social Philosophy
- Cultural Evolution: Integration and Skepticism
- Coordination and the Foundations of Social Intelligence
- Making Race Out of Nothing: Psychologically Constrained Social Roles
- A Feminist Empirical and Integrative Approach in Political Science: Breaking Down the Glass Wall?
- Social Constructions of Mental Illness
- Cooperation and Reciprocity: Empirical Evidence and Normative Implications
- Evaluating Social Policy
- Values and the Science of Well-Being: A Recipe for Mixing
Abstract and Keywords
This article is concerned with the role of quantitative and consequentialist considerations in the evaluation of policies within departments of government. It concentrates on the difficulties of within-department consequentialist policy evaluation itself, in the realistic case in which it is subsumed in a pluralist method of evaluation. It is possible to do health policy without a measure of population health, though it is not possible to do it well. Health economists take themselves to be measuring the bearing of health states on well-being. The article then addresses five arguments in defense of evaluating health states by measuring people's preferences among health states. Individuals' preferences are not evidence as to the true value of health states. Consequentialist considerations play an important role in policy evaluation. It is very difficult to implement restricted consequentialist policy assessment.
Daniel M. Hausman is the Herbert A. Simon and Hilldale Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research has centered on epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical issues lying at the boundaries between economics and philosophy. His books include The Inexact and Separate Science of Economics (Cambridge University Press, 1992) and Economic Analysis, Moral Philosophy, and Public Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2006, with Michael McPherson). His most recent book, Preferences, Value, and Choice, and Welfare, is due out shortly from Cambridge University Press.
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