Evaluating Social Policy

Daniel M. Hausman

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Social Science

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195392753
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Evaluating Social Policy

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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.

Keywords: consequentialist policy evaluation; health policy; population health; government; health states

Article.  9154 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy ; Philosophy of Science

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