Model uncertainty and policy choice: A plea for integrated subjectivism

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A question at the intersection of scientific modeling and public choice is how to deal with uncertainty about model predictions. This “high-level” uncertainty is necessarily value-laden, and thus must be treated as irreducibly subjective. Nevertheless, formal methods of uncertainty analysis should still be employed for the purpose of clarifying policy debates. I argue that such debates are best informed by models which integrate objective features (which model the world) with subjective ones (modeling the policy-maker). This integrated subjectivism is illustrated with a case study from the literature on monetary policy. The paper concludes with some morals for the use of models in determining climate policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-50
Number of pages9
JournalStudies In History and Philosophy of Science Part A
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


  • Uncertainty
  • Modeling
  • Public policy
  • Economics
  • Decision theory
  • Climate science

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