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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Policy Analysis 2.0 - Structured Collaboration Using Projected Outcome Matrices from the Eightfold Path

  • Author(s): Winkelman, Zev
  • Advisor(s): Nacht, Michael
  • et al.

The Eightfold Path is a methodology for policy analysis taught at the Goldman School of Public Policy, at the University of California, Berkeley. At the center of this methodology is a matrix in which each cell represents the projected outcome of the policy alternative corresponding to the cell's row, as measured by the criterion corresponding to the cell's column. Policy analysts use this methodology to explore complex policy problems, consider the tradeoffs between different alternatives, and orient decision makers as to the choices they face. A similar methodology has been developed for the analysis of competing hypotheses (ACH) regarding intelligence assessments of streams of evidence. The ACH method, also based on a matrix, represents evidence, hypotheses, and analyst's assessments of the consistency of a particular piece of evidence with a given hypothesis. The ACH methodology has been implemented as open source software that enables collaboration between intelligence analysts and contributes to more robust analysis. This dissertation starts with the open source implementation of ACH, and adapts it to fit the Eightfold Path methodology. Debates from a 2009 Congressional hearing on sunsetting provisions from the USA PATRIOT Act are then used as a case study to demonstrate that benefits from the ACH system can also be captured by policy analysts using the Eightfold Path.

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