Policy Modeling refers to the application of operations research, statistics, and other quantitative methods to model policy problems. Recognizing that analyses of all sorts often exhibit diminishing returns in insight to effort, the hope is to capture key features of various policy issues with relatively simple “first-strike” models. Problem selection and formulation thus compete with the mathematics of solution methods in determining successful applications: where do good problems come from? How can analysts tell if a particular issue is worth pursuing? In addressing these questions, I will review some personal adventures in policy modeling selected from public housing, HIV/AIDS prevention, bioterror preparedness, suicide bombings and counterterrorism, in vitro fertilization, predicting presidential elections, and sports.
Edward H. Kaplan is the William N. and Marie A. Beach Professor of Operations Research, Public Health, and Engineering at Yale University’s School of Management. An expert in operations research, mathematical modeling and statistics, Kaplan was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine). His research in HIV prevention and counterterrorism has been recognized with the Edelman Award, Lanchester Prize, Centers for Disease Control’s Charles C. Shepard Science Award, INFORMS President’s Award, three Koopman Prizes, and numerous other awards. Kaplan was the Lady Davis Visiting Professor of medicine and of statistics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and also served as a visiting professor to the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Survey Research Center at UC Berkeley, Columbia’s Graduate School of Business, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. In 2014, Kaplan was elected to a three year term as INFORMS President-Elect (2015), President (2016), and Past-President (2017). For more information about Kaplan and his research, visit http://faculty.som.yale.edu/EdKaplan/.