Bayesian Inference in Public Administration Research: Substantive Differences from Somewhat Different Assumptions

Kevin Wagner, Jeff Gill
2005 International Journal of Public Administration  
The purpose of this article is to point out that the standard statistical inference procedure in public administration is defective and should be replaced. The standard classicist approach to producing and reporting empirical findings is not appropriate for the type of data we use and does not report results in a useful manner for researchers and practitioners. The Bayesian inferential process is better suited for structuring scientific research into administrative questions due to overt
more » ... ions, flexible parametric forms, systematic inclusion of prior knowledge, and rigorous sensitivity analysis. We begin with a theoretical discussion of inference procedures and Bayesian methods, then provide an empirical example from a recently published, well-known public administration work on education public policy. STATISTICAL INFERENCE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: A REPORT CARD Methodology in public administration stands at a crossroads. The choice is to continue to employ a dated and inappropriate device for determining the reliability of statistical findings or to reevaluate and seek better suited inferential tools. In this article we will demonstrate that the dominant Null Hypothesis Significance Test (NHST) is broken and cannot be repaired, and then we will argue that the appropriate direction for our field is down the Bayesian road.
doi:10.1081/pad-200044556 fatcat:edmo44572bee7frbc2lthe6wc4