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Evaluation, in the heady days when the United States was at war with poverty, when government was thought to be capable of solving social problems, was the hope for making decisions rational. The expectation for rationality ran like this: Specify a problem that required government action, develop a list of policies that might remedy the problem, evaluate the effectiveness and cost of each of the policy alternatives, compare the results, and choose the most effective, lowest cost policy. Effective policy solutions were assumed to be abundant. Evaluations producing comparable information on the relevant policies were expected to be easy to conduct. Decisions could wait to follow the delivery of findings. Political interests would yield to the correctness of empirically determined solutions. Evaluation findings would supplant ...

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