People at sunset

El problema con las políticas basadas en evidencia

CAMBRIDGE – En la actualidad, múltiples organizaciones, desde entidades gubernamentales hasta instituciones filantrópicas y de cooperación internacional, requieren que las políticas y los programas "estén basados en evidencia". Es sensato exigir que las políticas se basen en evidencia y que esta sea lo mejor posible, dentro de límites razonables de tiempo y de presupuesto. Sin embargo, la forma en que ahora se implementa este enfoque puede estar causando mucho daño al debilitar nuestra capacidad de aprender y de mejorar lo que hacemos.

Hoy día, el llamado "patrón-oro" de lo que constituye evidencia sólida es el "ensayo de control aleatorizado" o RCT por su sigla en inglés, una idea que se originó en la medicina hace doscientos años, pasó a la agricultura y, durante los últimos veinte años, ha estado causando furor en la economía. Su popularidad se asienta en el hecho de que aborda problemas clave en la inferencia estadística.

Por ejemplo, la gente rica viste ropa fina. ¿Haría ricos a los pobres el que se les distribuyera ropa fina? Este es un caso en que la correlación (entre la ropa y la riqueza) no implica causalidad.

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