causality


Establishing causal relationships is tough in social science, a field defined by open systems and knowledgeable agents. It is extremely difficult with regard to policy actions and outcomes. In 1998-99 when I was the public face of telecom reform in Sri Lanka, I used to get lots of invitations to speak at business events. In these talks I had to maintain a delicate balance, between giving the then government and its predecessor the right amount of credit for the incredible outcomes that were becoming visible. The government in power had been in place for four years and had partially privatized the incumbent operator and given its management to a Japanese investor, among other things.