By Abdul Samad, Florida International University
Last night, Dr. David Johnson became the first-ever APPAM President to use Bitmoji in his Presidential Address. His was the highest-attended APPAM Presidential address ever. The evening of speeches formally began with the presentation of the Peter H. Rossi Award to Mark W. Lipsey from Vanderbilt University, and the David N. Kershaw Award to David Deming from Harvard University. Dr. Johnson then came to the stage to thank all the attendees and staff members for making the conference a big success, and to share research insights and words of wisdom.
The main subject of Dr. Johnson’s address was the notion of measurement and its importance in public policy. He stressed the importance of statistics and data analysis at the federal level and discussed how they are used in public policy. He also talked about the federal statistical system. The main themes of the speech were measurement, evidence, and data, and how they are used in public policy. Dr. Johnson said that APPAM is made up of three major pillars: the universities, the government, and the policy and research organizations. Heemphasized the importance of measurement and how it necessitates a strong focus in order to create a big difference. He concluded by saying that the federal statistical system is the backbone to the functioning of a democratic society. It is the responsibility of the federal statistical agencies to produce and disseminate relevant and timely information; conduct credible, accurate and objective studies; and protect the trust of information providers by ensuring confidentiality and exclusive statistical responses.
Dr. Johnson said that the importance of statistics is undeniable: Over half a trillion dollar in federal programs was allocated to various federal programs using the statistics from federal statistical agencies. Without the ability to measure effectively, it would be difficult for researchers to conduct research. He concluded by suggesting that it is time for us to stop complaining and start providing solutions to the complex public policy issues we face.
A reception with beverages, cupcakes and finger foods immediately followed the inspiring Presidential Address.