Uncertainty, Decision Science, and Policy Making: A Manifesto for a Research Agenda

Abstract

ABSTRACTThe financial crisis of 2008 was unforeseen partly because the academic theories that underpin policy making do not sufficiently account for uncertainty and complexity or learned and evolved human capabilities for managing them. Mainstream theories of decision making tend to be strongly normative and based on wishfully unrealistic “idealized” modeling. In order to develop theories of actual decision making under uncertainty, we need new methodologies that account for how human actors often manage uncertain situations “well enough.” Some possibly helpful methodologies, drawing on digital science, focus on the role of emotions in determining people's choices; others examine how people construct narratives that enable them to act; still others combine qualitative with quantitative data.

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