Angus Deaton on the importance of numbers

At long last, I started reading Angus Deaton‘s “The Great Escape”. The book is the esteemed professor’s take on economic development and health advances also explain the rise in inequality. It’s a substantive read for me and I wasn’t expecting to encounter any brownbag methods-related topics. However, in the introductory chapter, among other things, Deaton explains his approach to the book. Not surprisingly he roots his arguments in empirical findings. In a long sentence on page 16, he provides one of the most concise and compelling arguments for using evidence in the analysis of social problems:

 Unless we understand how the numbers are put together, and what they mean, we run the risk of seeing problems where there are none, of missing urgent and addressable needs, of being outraged by fantasies while overlooking real horrors, and of recommending policies that are fundamentally misconceived.

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