So What?

Are Facts Persuasive?

August 18, 2017  • Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program

The biweekly “So What?” guide highlights advice, events, and tips — mostly from the advocacy and evaluation worlds, selected by the Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program. A shout-out to Lizhong Liu, our able research assistant and administrative intern and MPP candidate at the University of Chicago Harris School, for the initial research.

Climate change is hazardous to your…economy

The sun may go dim for many of us on Monday, but it will be back (say the science guys). Meanwhile, real Science guys have published a new study predicting the effects of climate change on the US economy. The takeaway? Increased temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns will transfer wealth from the South, Midwest, and mid-Atlantic to the Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes region and New England, intensify economic inequality, and cause other economic disruptions. The process may be slow, but suppose it reshapes the politics of climate activism and advocacy: will we see the Alabama Chamber of Commerce teaming up with the Sierra Club?

Are facts persuasive?

Climate change skeptics remain resistant to change. Not all think it’s a Chinese “hoax;” some even prefer to cite scientific research, but that may change. The majority of the Administration’s supporters now believe that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country. Reaching a consensus on facts gets more difficult when America becomes “Fantasyland” and people can’t agree that authoritative facts exist. But these are not counsels of despair. When activists find it difficult to agree on ways forward, advocates (and their evaluator allies) are ready to help. We even like facts. Sometimes, as we learn from Fred Carden and others at Better Evaluation, facts can even persuade policymakers.

Facts about happiness

And with a hat tip to APEP Distinguished Alum Tarek Rizk and our pals at the The Five Best Ideas of the Day, we bring you this center for really stunning big data analysis to prove that happiness in America peaks between 5 and 6 AM, and Vermonters love bacon but apparently ski off all the calories.

So What?
How Shark Attacks (and Other Factors) Affect Your Vote
August 4, 2017 • Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program