ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Vinayak Krishnan

Structures Behind Numbers: Critically Examining the “Credibility Revolution” and “Evidence-based Policy”


Statistical analysis has become a mainstay of contemporary social science research. This is particularly salient in the discipline of economics. While the mid-20th century saw theoretical work as the most fruitful form of research, shifts from the 1980s onward saw far greater attention being paid to empirical techniques and applying the results of economics research to real-world policy problems. Most economists have welcomed this shift as a “Credibility Revolution” that has facilitated a more scientific and objective analysis of socio-economic phenomenon. Moreover, much of this research is increasingly being used to analyse and affect policy change as well, giving rise to the much-vaunted practice of evidence-based policy This article examines the historical antecedents of both these phenomena and the empirical foundations that form their bases. Further, it critically examines the premise of “scientific objectivity” that these methods of research promise. It seeks to argue that while statistical knowledge provides a range of insights to researchers and policymakers, the numbers and indicators that form the basis of this analysis are socially and politically constructed.