Bayesian Inference for Social Policy Research

Publication Date: March 15, 2019
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  • Published: 2019


Bayesian methods are emerging as the primary alternative to the conventional frequentist approach to statistical inference. This brief provides an overview of the Bayesian perspective and highlights potential advantages of Bayesian inference over frequentist inference. In light of the increasing value and viability of Bayesian methods to contemporary policy debates, the brief outlines the following steps to advance Bayesian analysis in social policy research:

  • Extend methodological requirements in grant and contract proposal submission guidelines;
  • Develop requirements for evaluating publications that use Bayesian methods; and
  • Expand requirements for federal evidence reviews and clearinghouse submissions.


Kaplan, David (2019). Bayesian Inference for Social Policy Research, OPRE Report 2019-36, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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