In the context of public policy and economics, decision-making processes are conducted with a level of uncertainty, despite the abundance of information in the hands of those making the critical choices. These decisions, both public and private, are uncertain due to the inherently complex nature of the systems in the context of which they are made. The global economy or geopolitical balances are influenced by a wide variety of forces, ranging from climate to military conflict and diplomacy. The systems are imperfect which creates such difficulty in predicting outcomes (Rivlin, 2003). In economics, there is an underlying theoretical principle of rational choice theory that is theoretically should be allowed to predict any economic behavior. However, in reality, it is evident that human psychology is highly irrational. Therefore, despite some structure and regulation and the significant capacity of computerized analysis, it is practically impossible to forecast the behavior of such complex systems.
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Based on the above-described factors, it can be argued that experts differ significantly in their forecasts because they are imperfect. Various experts may use different forecasting models and methods of analysis. The initially collected data may have certain flaws. Furthermore, even with the use of computer analysis, experts must decipher and interpret the data. It is done based on individual experience, as well as personal judgment that inherently introduces a level of bias whether the expert wants to do so or not. Despite the illusion of unbiased and scientific basis of public policy forecasting, it is most often a highly subjective process. While the public expects forecasting to be a critical analysis for a choice of action on public policy, direct superiors and clients often expect data to document and justify a politically predetermined course of action. In a manner, public policy forecasting becomes a matter of lobbying and advocacy (Wachs, 1990). Therefore, in the current political environment, it is significantly challenging to ensure objectivity and lack of bias in public policy analysis.
Rivlin, A. M. (2003). Greed, ethics, and public policy. Web.
Wachs, M. (1990). Ethics and advocacy in forecasting for public policy. Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 9(1-2), 141-157. doi:10.5840/bpej199091/215.