“Education for judgment”

Barbara Nelson: Policy school “is about balancing goods and bads under uncertainty.”

My dean, Barbara Nelson, made her annual welcoming speech to the new students today, and gave one of the best short riffs I’ve heard on what public policy schools are about:

Professional education is in its deepest essence education for judgment. It is an education about how to balance goods and bads under uncertainty. It is not an education solely about saving the spotted owl, but saving the spotted owl, valuing old growth forest, ensuring viable economic opportunities for rural communities rooted in extractive industries, and recognizing that we all enjoy wood products at incredibly cheap prices, from paper, to furniture, to wood for houses, which are often sold retail in stores with limited commitment to health insurance or pensions for their workers.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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