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Available online xxxx JEL classification: H21 C11 C14 Keywords: Optimal policy Gaussian process priors Posterior expected welfare A B S T R A C T How should one use (quasi-)experimental evidence when choosing policies such as tax rates, health insurance copay, unemployment benefit levels, and class sizes in schools? This paper suggests an approach based on maximizing posterior expected social welfare, combining insights from (i) optimal policy theory as developed in the field of public finance,doi:10.1016/j.jpubeco.2018.09.002 fatcat:x5i3oio6ofbbtgrhfjhg7qghzu