Politische Weisheit wissenschaftlich evaluiert

Mit Verweis auf das interessante Blog von Greg Mankiw, einem amerikanischen Makroökonomen, zwei interessante Anmerkungen zur Bewertung von politischen Entscheidungen.

Zum einen mogelt sich Obama eleganter als ich es je gesehen habe um eine konkrete Aussage, wie sein politisches Programm bewertet werden könne — und wird dafür von Mankiw gelobt:

Obama: I think my initial measure of success is creating or saving 4 million jobs. That’s bottom line No. 1, because if people are working, then they’ve got enough confidence to make purchases, to make investments. Businesses start seeing that consumers are out there with a little more confidence, and they start making investments, which means they start hiring workers. So step No. 1, job creation.

The expression „create or save,“ which has been used regularly by the President and his economic team, is an act of political genius. You can measure how many jobs are created between two points in time. But there is no way to measure how many jobs are saved. Even if things get much, much worse, the President can say that there would have been 4 million fewer jobs without the stimulus.


A completely honest (but perhaps politically ill-advised) response to the question would have been, „Geez. I am only President of the United States. I cannot be held responsible for everything that what happens with the economy!“ If he had said that, I would have agreed with him.

(Create or Save)

Zum anderen begründet Mankiw dieses Urteil in einem schönen Vergleich:

A reader asks a good question:

What are some useful and objective measures which we can use to judge the performance of President Obama and his new team? How would Greg Mankiw judge Obama four years from now?

Consider a related question: How would you judge the competence of a doctor if you could observe him treating only a single patient?

What you would not do is judge him by the outcome. Even the best physicians have patients die. And even witchdoctors can have patients recover. Randomness is a fact of life (and death). In the case of a medical doctor, the answer seems clear: Instead of looking at the outcome, you would judge him by the decisions he makes and treatments he prescribes. That is, you would examine whether he followed best practices for the circumstances he faced.

(Judging Presidents)

Das Problem von Untersuchungen ohne Kontrollgruppe, frei nach Rainer Leonhart: Keine Kontrollgruppe.

Datum: Samstag, 21. Februar 2009 0:32
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