The Public Interest

Confessions of a Policy Man

Leslie Lenkowsky

Fall 1978

IN 1976, the Federal government spent nearly two billion dollars on research designed to identify and solve social problems. The rapid growth in these outlays from nearly negligible amounts (by Federal standards) in the early 1960’s testifies not only to the expansion of the nation’s efforts to end poverty, reduce unemployment, and accomplish other social reforms, but also to the spread of the belief that social science theories and methods could be useful in achieving these goals. A new age was seemingly at hand, even proclaimed by President Kennedy, in which the work of economists and other scholars would transcend the divisive issues of polities and show the way toward unprecedented prosperity and progress. 

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