How much will be gained and how much will be lost with this policy? The importance of examining asymmetry of results


  • Leonardo Abel Ivarola


evidence-based policy, horizontal and vertical search, asymmetry of results, uncertainty, policymaking


Cartwright and Hardie (2012) claim that for a policy to work here two types of searches must be carried out: one concerning the causal principle or policy variable (vertical search) and the other concerning the factors that support such principle (horizontal search). However, they leave aside the fact that, during the implementation, a policy may deviate from its expected course. In the best of cases, these deviations make the policy to end up failing. But in other situations, such deviations may have highly damaging effects. In the present paper it is argued that, at least in the socioeconomic realm, these deviations may be more common than thought. As a consequence, it is argued that a policy maker should examine the degree of asymmetry of results –that is, how much would be gained and how much would be lost if the policy were implemented. It will be shown that, insofar as this asymmetry is more pronounced, the horizontal and vertical search becomes less relevant for a policy maker's decision.


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