Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The professor and the policy maker

This video was not especially funny but very true.

I've been on both sides of this. A week or so before No Child Left Behind was to be re-authorized, I asked a friend who I had seen present perhaps one of the the most carefully done evaluations of the educational impact a year before for the latest draft of her findings. She said sure, let me just clean up a few things and I'll send it next week. Next week became next month, which became next month, I got it about 6 months later, long after Congress was done with the issue.

Also quite true that your paper having 20 citations (meaning maybe 10 people read your paper) is probably more helpful to tenure than actually helping to change policy.

And finally, I am often reminded, especially reading papers written by students but also articles in the popular press, that people outside the field can't tell the difference between good work and bad, so that a white paper published on the website of the Center that Advocates Whatever, is treated as equal in value to a paper published in the American Economic Review.

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