Exploring the Eclipse of Equality

Posts Tagged ‘experiments’

Rigor Without Mortis: Do-gooders and do-badders

In Intellectual History on March 25, 2010 at 10:12 am

This will be a quick shot that reveals more of my prejudice than my wit, but I had to say a few words about a column by Nicholas Kristof today. I should say first that I really enjoy his columns in general. He shocks me out of my dogmatic slumber on occasion and keeps me focused on the world when I might drift back into the details of American agonistic minutiae. But he got me going today in a bad way and it seemed to be worth explaining why that is. Here is the offending paragraph:

We’re getting a much better handle on what policies can overcome poverty. We’re now seeing more experiments, modeled after randomized drug trials, that measure carefully whether an approach works and how cost-effective it is. Partly this reflects the rise of economists (at the expense of political scientists and do-gooders) and the rigor they pack in their briefcases.

Now, Kristof Read the rest of this entry »