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How to design academically rigorous public policies, by Jaume Vives

How to design academically rigorous public policies, by Jaume Vives

Jaume Vives

Jaume Vives has worked as a data scientist at Google and Quantico and is now carrying out a doctorate in economics and statistics at MIT in Boston. He receives a grant from the Fundació La Caixa.

“Boston is a good example of the compatibility of academic rigor and public policy,” says Jaume Vives. He points out how the study conducted by Parag Pathak, MIT economist, together with Josh Angrist, also a member of MIT and one of the winners of the 2021 Nobel Prize, has led to the implementation of the “Boston Mechanism,” which allocates places in public schools. “The study led to a change in the mechanism used by Boston public schools and fostered a close working relationship between researchers and the Boston City Council” explains Vives, who stresses the need to form new partnerships between public institutions and researchers.

Vives believes that Barcelona needs to improve the effectiveness of its public policies and stresses three key elements: “(1) a high quality statistical analysis department, (2) data infrastructure on a par with international institutions, and (3) close collaboration with academic groups studying the impact of public policies on cities.” Barcelona has already made considerable headway in the first two areas, but “for this investment to be useful, more still needs to be done.”

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