One day I’m going to write a book (okay, an extremely sternly worded blog post) about how Goodhart’s Law (“When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure”) cuts most of what we like to think of as “applied social science” off at the knees. Until then, maybe you can fill in the blanks with this old article about the travesty that is the U.S. News college rankings.

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2 thoughts on “

  1. If you don’t mind my replying to a two-year-old comment which I never saw — thanks WordPress! — it’s my pleasure! I saw a modified form expressed recently, which maybe gets at the dangers for our data-driven age a little more clearly: something like “we want to focus not on the numbers, but on the underlying facts which cause the numbers.” Leaving aside the thorny metaphysics of causation, I think this is the best way to think about it, in every context from sports to business….

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