Making informed decisions is hard. Diverse points of view need to be solicited from as many stakeholders as possible. Many opinions, and resulting decisions, will be based on ideological, political or self-interested perspectives. Unbiased, third-party perspectives can be hard to come by.
I established QEDinc to provide clients with an unbiased, third-party perspective based on economic theory and quantitative analysis. The beauty – and peril – of quantitative analysis is that it reduces an issue to a set of numbers that can be characterized as either good or bad. Used carelessly, quantitative analysis can be used to dumb down a debate as much as any other single-interest perspective. The ramifications of a decision cannot be summarized by a single number. And economic research does not provide the degree of certainty that is often conveyed by the use of a single number to describe an outcome. But when used appropriately, quantitative analysis can be used to provide unbiased, third-party evidence to help inform stakeholders with diverse perspectives of the potential rewards, risks and range of outcomes associated with their decisions.
I do not believe that quantitative analysis should be the sole, or even the dominant, factor in the decision-making process. Economic models are incomplete, abstract representations of reality and different economic models can even yield different conclusions. But with an appropriate acknowledgment and understanding of these limitations, quantitative economic research can be used to help build consensus and be a valuable part of an informed decision-making process.