Philip Cook and Billy Pizer, two economists from Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, talked about the challenges and rewards of conducting research on issues of profound public concern. The discussion was moderated by WUNC’s Leoneda Inge. Both Cook and Pizer have found themselves in the middle of heated public debates. What does their experience tell us about the capacity of politically-charged discussions to embrace the findings of scientific research? What can we learn from them about the ability of researchers to engage productively with public policy?
When Research Collides with Politics in Duke Today
Professor Philip Cook has spent nearly 40 years studying the causes and effects of gun violence in the United States. Known as one of the country’s leading experts on gun violence with numerous publications on the topic, he and colleague Kristen Goss have just published The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know with Oxford University Press (2014).
Professor Billy Pizer has spent his career focusing on climate change policy, including three years working in the US Department of Treasury as deputy assistant secretary for environment and energy and more than a decade as a senior fellow and research director at Resources for the Future, a nonpartisan think tank. He has authored and co-authored papers on a range of topics related to economics and the environment, including market-based solutions to climate change and the effects of government regulation on competitiveness.