The Congress and Statistics

Research Report

The Congress and Statistics

October 1, 2003

Abstract

The vast majority of Representatives and Senators are not well acquainted with the science of statistics and like most Americans they have difficulty assessing probabilities associated with various unpleasant and pleasant future events. Yet, the Congress consumes vast quantities of scientific, economic, and social data. The numbers affect both policy decisions and Congressional procedures. Much like Voltaire's Bourgeois Gentilhomme who exclaimed "Good heavens! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing it," the Congress practices the science of statistics without knowing it.

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