Science, democracy, and public policy

Critical Review 6 (2-3):255-264 (1992)
Abstract
Experts often tout highly subjective methods of policy analysis as scientific and value?free. In The Myth of Scientific Public Policy, Robert Formaini exposes the uncertainties in two of these methods, cost?benefit analysis and risk assessment. Because of these deficiencies, he concludes that ethics and political philosophy, not science, are the proper foundation for public policy. While Formaini is right to emphasize the value?ladenness of cost?benefit analysis and risk assessment, his rejection of scientific methods of policy analysis is questionable. His criticisms, especially in his study of the swine?ßu case, seem to establish that experts have misused such methods, not that the methods themselves are seriously ßawed. Also, his rejection of cost?benefit analysis and risk assessment would be more realistic if he offered a well?developed alternative to these two methods. One such alternative, for example, is ethically weighted cost?benefit analysis
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