Is Boston’s new mayor anti-data?

No, but he knows there’s more to policy than what the stats say.

The money quote from the New York Times article: “Mr. Walsh also said he would judge his success in reducing crime not by statistics but by ‘how the community feels.’ ”

I get a kick out of this, especially because right across the river are the data wunderkinds of Harvard, MIT, J-PAL, etc. The consensus at these institutions, I suspect, would be that the word “feel” has no place in policy analysis. Or perhaps, they will start coming up with complicated, ingenious, and expensive ways to measure feelings.

I say good for Marty Walsh. And I hope that he doesn’t just look at opinion polls asking “do you feel safer?” I hope that he “uses some qualitative evidence”, which is policy language that translates in normal English to, “listens to people about how safe they feel and why.” As a good mayor should.



About developingnathan
I am a reflective person. I am an introvert, a friend, a brother and a son. I appreciate a well-crafted glass of beer, piece of music and turn of phrase. I am a professional of international development, a good pianist and a Green Bay Packers fan.

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