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This paper identifies a set of 16 "important hard problems" (IHPs) related to the performance of a policy analysis study whose solutions would be considered of great value to researchers and practitioners. The IHPs are divided into three categories: those relating to (1) specific steps in the policy analysis process, (2) the overall policymaking process, and (3) the decision paradigm. This paper was written in response to a request from the Program Director for the Decision, Risk, and Management Science Program at the National Science Foundation.

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.