Policy Indicators: Links Between Social Science and Public Debate
Duncan MacRae analyzes the ways in which experts can aid a political community in choosing public statistics for citizens to use in making policy judgments. In contrast to the study of social indicators, which has emphasized descriptions and models of social change, he stresses that the relevant measures should be selected in view of their potential applications.
The usefulness of a public statistical series depends on the goals it represents and on our knowledge of how to act collectively to achieve those ends. The measures chosen, MacRae notes, can include gauges of social objectives, such as health and education improvements or crime reduction, and administrative inputs that promote them. He recommends, however, that the measures should be organized around general ends such as net economic benefit, subjective well-being, and equity. Knowledge about how to further collective aims, MacRae contends, requires strenthening of "technical communities" of researchers who study the means to the ends that policy indicators measure.
Policy Indicators provides a critical review of the field of social indicators, stressing the uses of statistics in policy debate. For applied social scientists and policy analysts, it presents broad proposals for the roles of their fields in a democracy.
Originally published in 1985.
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Values in Public Statistical Systems
Four Types of Action Aided by Public Statistics
Indicator Statistics Models and the Cycle of Policy Choice
Value Analysis of Social Indicator Concepts
Choosing Contributory Policy Indicators
Citizens Values and the Experts Roles
Politics and the Reconciliation of Values
Happiness and Satisfaction
Dimensional Structures of Subjective Value Concepts
Combining Time and Subjective WellBeing7
Personality and Domain Satisfactions
Standards of Comparison Adaptation and Change
Citizens Justifications and Their Reconciliation
Tradeoffs and Indicators
Values and Roles
The Proposal of Consensual EndValue Indicators
Part II Causal Models for Policy
Successful Models and Their Limits
The Limitations of Policy Models with Exact Components
Models Based on Simpler Aspects of Human Behavior
The Fairweather Lodge
Conditions for Improving Models by Successive Trials
Types of Incrementalism
Nonexperimental Social Policy Research
The Specificity of Practical Social Research
Three Coleman Reports
An Inclusive Framework for Educational Policy Models
Models for Crime Reduction
Comparison of Model Building for Education and Crime Policies
Technical Communities and Multiple Methods
Technical Community Versus Client Support
Part III General Indicator Concepts in Policy Choice and Research
Net Economic Benefit
Economic Statistics as Examples for Imitation
The Optimization of Economic Value
Estimating Net Economic Benefit and the National Product
Estimating Nonmarket Benefits and Costs
Objective or Subjective?
Macroeconomic Value Concepts and WellBeing
Equity Aggregation and Compensation
Intrafamily and Intrapersonal Aggregation
Value Causation and Blame
Indicators of Social Integration
Family and Household Integration
The Integration of Communities and Political Systems
Part IV The Implementation of Policy Indicators
The Political Context System Needs Biases and Users
Differences among Political Systems
Policy Indicators in Local Government
Measurement and the Reactions of Information Producers
Political Pressures and the Use and Choice of Indicators
Dissemination and Mediating Roles
Political Conditions and Indicator Development
Technical Communities Indicators and Models
Scientific and Technical Communities
The Community for Public Statistics
Communities Dealing with Policy Models
Technical Communities and Values
The Choice of Policy Indicators
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action aggregate aspects assess attachment basic behavior benefit-cost analysis causal models Chap choice of policy cial citizens Coleman concern consider contribute contributory variables costs crime deal decisions defined definition depends desegregation distribution economic benefit effects end-values equity estimate ethical evaluation example expert communities function groups income indicator statistics indicator variables individual information systems integration involved judgments less MacRae measures ment monetary nomic norms organization Pareto criterion particular persons policy analysis policy choice policy indicators policy models political community population possible preferences problems production proposed public policy public statistics quality-adjusted questions reconciliation relevant require responses result role schools scientists seek social goal areas social indicators social science social system social welfare function specific subjective well-being technical communities tion tradeoffs trials types value concepts welfare white flight
Page 4 - This volume is devoted to the topic of social indicators— statistics, statistical series, and all other forms of evidence— that enable us to assess where we stand and are going with respect to our values and goals, and to evaluate specific programs and determine their impact.
Page 5 - ... the bare enumeration of the inhabitants; it would enable them to adapt the public measures to the particular circumstances of the community. In order to know the various interests of the United States, it was necessary that the description of the several classes into which the community is divided should be accurately known.
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