The use of screening in policy analysis

by Warren Walker

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback30 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

In most policy analysis studies there are a large number of alternative policies and a large number of impacts to be considered. Time and budget constraints make it impossible to calculate all the impacts for all of the alternatives. As a result, such studies include some process for reducing the number of alternatives to be examined in detail. The process is often implicit and nonscientific (e.g., only the decisionmaker's three favorite alternatives are considered). This paper suggests that policy analysis studies explicitly include a screening step, in which the alternatives to be examined in detail and those to be excluded from further consideration are chosen in a scientific and systematic manner. The output from this step is a relatively small set of policy alternatives that are sufficiently attractive that they deserve a more thorough evaluation. Two general screening strategies are described. They are illustrated by describing the screening step in a study to help determine an overall water management policy for the Netherlands.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.