2015 Preconference Professional Development Workshops

Wednesday, March 18, 1:30 – 5:00 pm
George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, Washington, D.C.

To register, please use the PayPal link that appears below the description of the relevant workshop. Note that workshop registration is separate from conference registration. To learn more about the conference, as well as lodging options, please click here; to register for the conference, please click here.

If you prefer to pay by check, please make the check out to the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis, c/o Richard Belzer, and mail it to PO Box 319, Mount Vernon, VA 22121, along with the name, contact information and workshop selection for each registrant. 

SBCA will be offering the following pre-conference professional development workshops*:

1. Benefit-Cost Analysis in the States: Status, Results First, and Options to Increase Usage Among Policymakers

3. An Overview of Climate Change, Its Impacts and the Social Cost of Carbon

5. QALYs in Cost-Effectiveness and Benefit-Cost Analysis

6. Retrospective Benefit-Cost Analysis

* Workshops 2 (Use of Expert Elicitation to Inform Decision-Making) and 4 (Estimating the Benefits of Improved Air Quality with the Open Source BenMAP-CE Tool) have been cancelled due to insufficient registration.

A description of each workshop, including the preliminary agenda and list of instructors, as well as the registration fee, is provided below.


Workshop 1: Benefit-Cost Analysis in the States: Status, Results First, and Options to Increase Usage Among Policymakers
Organizer: Darcy White, Pew Charitable Trusts

Description

The budget and policy choices that governments make each year have long-term impacts on their state’s fiscal and social futures. However, policymakers often make these decisions based on inertia, anecdotes, and political factors rather than an assessment of programs’ outcomes and return on investment. While benefit-cost analysis (BCA) holds the promise of improving policy choices, most states have made limited use of the technique and lack the capacity to incorporate BCA into their budget processes. To fill this gap, the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative (Results First) works in a growing number of states to help them customize and use a benefit-cost analysis approach initially developed by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

The first part of the workshop will discuss how states are using benefit-cost analysis to inform their budget and policy choices and the role the Results First Initiative plays in building BCA into state policy and budget processes, followed by an in-depth look at the Results First approach—utilizing the benefit-cost model and clearinghouse database—to help states predict the long-term impact of programs in a wide range of policy areas. The second part will feature a panel of benefit-cost experts who will discuss key challenges that exist in expanding BCA tools and debate potential solutions to these challenges.

Participation in this workshop will benefit both academics and practitioners who want to learn about the use of BCA in states and the progress being made in helping states incorporate the technique into their decision processes. There are no prerequisites or requirements for attending this workshop.

Preliminary Agenda (subject to change)

1:30 - 2:00

BCA in the States – Status, challenges, and partnering with the results first initiative to achieve impact (Gary VanLandingham and Darcy White, Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative

2:00 - 3:00

Panel Discussion: BCA in state and local governments – where can the field go from here? (Gary VanLandingham, Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, Lynn Karoly, RAND Corporation; Daniel Max Crowley, Duke University)

3:00 - 3:15

Break (with refreshments)

3:15 - 4:45 The Results First Approach – Identifying ‘what works’ using the BCA model and clearinghouse database (Sarah Wittig-Galgano and Karen Lyons, Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative
4:45 - 5:00 Closing remarks

Early registration (before January 31): $250
Regular Registration (from February 1 through March 17): $280
Late and On-Site Registration (from March 18 on): $310

 

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Workshop 2: Use of Expert Elicitation to Inform Decision-Making
 

**CANCELLED**


Workshop 3: An Overview of Climate Change, Its Impacts and the Social Cost of Carbon
Organizer: Elisabeth Gilmore, University of Maryland

Description

The far-reaching implications of climate change ensure that it will remain an important policy issue. This workshop aims to provide participants with an overview of climate change, its impacts, and the development and application of the social cost of carbon (SCC). First, we provide an overview of the science and risks of climate change. Second, we provide an assessment of the climate damages and integrated assessment models (IAMs), which played a critical role in establishing the U.S. government’s social cost of carbon (SCC). Third, we discuss climate policy and the use of SCC in regulatory analysis and the benefit cost analysis. While this workshop will not directly address expectations of future domestic or international climate policy, participants should leave the workshop with an enhanced understanding of the benefits of avoiding climate change, the use of IAMs to develop estimates of these benefits, and the strengths and limitations of the use of SCC.

This workshop is structured into three presentations with ample time for discussion following each presentation. The target audience is those who would like an overview or refresher on the basics of climate science, economics, and U.S. regulation. It is designed to be accessible to those without a science background.

Preliminary Agenda (subject to change)

1:30 - 1:40 Introduction and Overview (Elisabeth Gilmore, University of Maryland)
1:40 - 2:15

Science of Climate Change and the Climate Damages: A review the basics of Earth science and climate change, the sources, sinks, and atmospheric dynamics of greenhouse gases, the expected damages and risks and the major sources of uncertainty. (Marcus Sarofim, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Invited)

2:15 - 3:00

Integrated Assessment Models (IAM) and Economic Damages: An introduction to the representation of climate change and the economic damages in integrated assessment models (IAMs) and the role that they played in establishing the US government’s social cost of carbon (SCC). (Alex Marten, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency )

3:00 - 3:15 Break (with refreshments)
3:15 - 4:30 Social Cost of Carbon and the Regulatory Environment in the United States: An overview of use of the SCC for regulatory analysis. Specific attention will be placed on the development of the present regulatory environment under the Clean Air Act. (Arden Rowell, University of Illinois College of Law)
4:30 - 5:00 Participatory Discussion

Early registration (before January 31): $300
Regular Registration (from February 1 through March 17): $330
Late and On-Site Registration (from March 18 on): $360

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Workshop 4: Estimating the Benefits of Improved Air Quality with the Open Source BenMAP-CE Tool

**CANCELLED**


Workshop 5: QALYs in Cost-Effectiveness and Benefit-Cost Analysis
Organizer: Scott D. Grosse, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Description

Though imperfect, the quality-adjusted life year (QALY) has become a standard measure of “effectiveness” in health, particularly in the evaluation of clinical services. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) in terms of added cost per QALY are commonly used to assess the value of an intervention relative to a benchmark threshold or range, or in comparison to other programs. QALYs are sometimes monetized and used in benefit-cost analysis (BCA). Therefore, a clear understanding of the appropriate use and interpretation of QALYs is vital for anyone who needs to predict or assess the health impacts of policies or programs. Questions of how to assess the monetary value of QALY gains will be addressed, including evidence of revealed preferences of funding or policy decisions relative to ICERs.

The target audience for this introductory course is both policy analysts and applied researchers. The objectives of the training are: 1) to help participants understand what QALYs represent; 2) to help policy analysts become informed consumers of QALY estimates by providing them with a toolkit; and (3) to help researchers better understand how to use, interpret, and communicate QALYs in assessing health benefits of policies and programs, including the use of monetized QALYs in BCAs.

This workshop will start by explaining how health economists summarize health outcomes in QALYs through the modeling of expected health profiles over time and the calculation of health utilities to value each health state on a scale from 0 to 1. By combining preferences over quality of life and survival, QALYs provide a common metric for health on a scale where the gain of 1 QALY represents the equivalent of adding 1 year of life with no health problems. The course will provide an overview of the different methods of estimating health utilities, both direct (standard gamble, time tradeoff, choice experiment), and indirect (e.g., EQ-5D, SF-6D, HUI3), how the measures are perceived by experts and stakeholders, and their current use in decision analyses in health policy and medicine.

This course will discuss case studies of economic evaluations and unpack the calculations to show how QALYs were estimated. Common pitfalls and challenges will be identified. Head-to-head comparisons will be presented to show how the choice of measures can influence the magnitude of QALY gains.

Preliminary Agenda (subject to change)

1:30 - 1:50
1. Introduction to Preference-Based Health Outcome Measures, the Calculation of QALYs, and the use of QALYs in Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (Scott Grosse, CDC)
1:50 - 2:35 2. Overview of Methods and Measures of Health Utilities (Robert Kaplan, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
2:35 - 3:00 3. Guidance on How to Appropriately Use Health Utilities to Calculate QALYs and to Critique Analyses Using QALYs (Derek Brown, Washington University in St. Louis)
3:00 - 3:15 Break (with refreshments)
3:15 - 3:45
4. First Case Study on the Use of QALYs in Cost-Effectiveness Analyses: Air Quality and Asthma (Derek Brown, Washington University in St. Louis)
3:45 - 4:10 5. Second Case Study on the Use of QALYs in Cost-Effectiveness Analyses: Traumatic Brain Injury (Derek Brown, Washington University in St. Louis)
4:10 - 4:40 6. Discussion of CEA Thresholds and Monetized QALYs in BCA (Scott Grosse, CDC)
4:40 - 5:00 Questions and Topics from Participants, Additional Examples (Grosse, Brown, Kaplan)

Early registration (before January 31): $250
Regular Registration (from February 1 through March 17): $280
Late and On-Site Registration (from March 18 on): $310

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Workshop 6: Retrospective Benefit-Cost Analysis
Organizers: Jennifer Baxter, Industrial Economics, Incorporated

Description

While prospective benefit-cost analysis is a well-established component of the regulatory development process in the U.S. and other developed economies, retrospective analysis of regulations is less common. Yet such analysis provides important insights into how to best improve existing regulations, as well as into how to improve the conduct of prospective analysis. Retrospective analysis is now strongly encouraged under Executive Order 13563 for significant federal regulations, and is increasingly advocated in many other policy contexts in the U.S. and internationally.

Many presume that retrospective analysis will be more accurate than prospective analysis, assuming that analysts can simply sum the incurred costs and benefits. In reality, retrospective analysis is very challenging and often highly uncertain. The most difficult step is disentangling the incremental effects of the policy from the effects of other factors that influence current conditions, so as to compare outcomes in the relevant setting with the policy against counterfactual (and hypothetical) outcomes in the same setting had the policy never been adopted.

This workshop brings together five leading experts with diverse perspectives to discuss both the institutional context for these analyses and their conduct. It is targeted on both those interested in conducting these analyses and those interested in better understanding the strengths and limitations of analyses they review. Prior to the workshop, participants will receive a list of optional readings. The workshop itself will consist of a series of presentations with ample time for discussion. There are no prerequisites or requirements for participation.

Preliminary Agenda (subject to change)

1:30 - 2:15 Introduction, Institutional Frameworks and Processes (Cary Coglianese, University of Pennsylvania)
2:15 - 3:00

Fundamentals of Conducting Retrospective Benefit-Cost Analysis (Jennifer Baxter, Industrial Economics, Incorporated)

3:00 - 3:15 Break (with refreshments)
3:15 - 4:00 Insights from Program Evaluation (Kathy Newcomer, George Washington University)
4:00 - 4:45 Example(s) of Recent Analyses (Richard Morgenstern, Resources for the Future)
4:45 - 5:00 Wrap-up (Cary Coglianese, University of Pennsylvania)

Early registration (before January 31): $250
Regular Registration (from February 1 through March 17): $280
Late and On-Site Registration (from March 18 on): $310

Questions? Please contact SBCA at SBCAinfo@uw.edu.

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Refund Policy

Any cancellation requests must be received via telephone or by email by 11:59 p.m. PST on January 31, 2015 to be eligible for a refund of the entire registration fee. Cancellation requests received after 11:59 p.m. PST on January 31, 2015 and before 11:59 p.m. PST on February 21, 2015 will be subject to a $75 cancellation fee. After 11:59 p.m. PST on February 21, the registrant shall be liable for the full registration fee. Refunds will not be given for no-shows. Email inquiries to sbcainfo@uw.eduBack to top.