Pro Bono Analysis of East Greenwich Municipal Data


Good governance requires good policy decisions. These decisions are (or should be) based on a careful analysis of available data and sound judgement. Conversely, faulty analysis is likely to result in bad policy decisions.

The May, 2017 Resident Mailer was something of a wake-up call for me, because I realized that critical decisions like level-funding the schools were being justified by analyses that were deeply flawed, to the point of being downright misleading.

Once I was paying attention, I noticed other examples of questionable analysis being used to justify policy decisions. I also realized that in some cases, the data used in the analysis was publicly available, so I undertook the task of replicating the council's analyses using rigorous, mathematically sound techniques when data could be obtained.

These often produced results quite different from those the council had published.

Those results were often produced by analyses that contained basic flaws anyone with experience working with data would point out, such as: