2020 Post-Conference Professional Development Workshops

                                                                   

                                                    Promoting Objectivity & Relevance in Benefit-Cost Analysis

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

SBCA will once again offer post-Conference professional development workshops on the day after the Annual Conference.

Registration is now open!

Venue: The Marvin Center at the George Washington University 

800 21st St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20052


SBCA will be offering the following post-Conference professional development workshops:

1. Deregulatory Benefit-Cost Analysis

2. Benefit-Cost Analysis for Beginners

3. Introduction to Benefit-Cost Analysis for Regulatory Impact Analysis

4. Addressing Uncertainty and Non-Quantified Effects in Benefit-Cost Analysis

5. A Voice Crying in the Wilderness? Techniques for Promoting the Use of Evidence and BCA Results to Policymakers

6. Valuing Changes in Health and Longevity



**Many workshop organizers will be contacting registrants in advance to share information and materials. Please register soon to ensure that you are included in these communications

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


Deregulatory Benefit-Cost Analysis

Organizer: Jennifer Baxter, Industrial Economics, Inc.

Additional Presenters: Bethany Davis Knoll, New York University School of Law; Libby Ashley, U.S. Office of Management and Budget; Jerry Ellig, The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center; Amber Jessup, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Description:

While benefit-cost analysis is a well-established component of the regulatory development process, it is generally conducted in the context of regulations imposing new constraints on regulated entities. Analysis of agency actions offering regulatory relief is less commonly undertaken, however, such analysis is likely to be used more frequently as a key tool in the implementation of Executive Order 13771. BCA of deregulatory actions may involve retrospective analysis to identify candidates for repeal or revision, as well as prospective analysis of the likely cost savings or forgone benefits resulting from proposed regulatory changes.

These analyses pose difficult challenges related to predicting what is likely to occur if existing requirements remain in force and likely responses to deregulation. For example, costs of existing regulations may be sunk or fixed in the near-term or longer-run, affecting decisions about how to respond to deregulatory actions. Similarly, changes in cultural norms and attitudes might affect responses to deregulation. Additionally, technological progress and related changes in risks can be difficult to forecast.

This workshop brings together leading experts and practitioners with diverse perspectives to discuss these challenges. It is targeted to 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, including case studies, with ample time for discussion. There are no prerequisites or requirements for participation.

Registration for this Workshop is $350.00 until January 31, 2020. After February 1st, prices increase.

Preliminary Agenda (Subject to Change) 

9:00 - 9:10 Introductions (Jennifer Baxter, Industrial Economics, Incorporated)
9:10 - 9:50 Executive order 13771 and Legal Requirements Related to Deregulatory Actions (Bethany Davis Noll, Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law)
9:50 – 10:30 OMB Guidance on Deregulatory Analysis (Dr. Elizabeth Ashley, OMB OIRA)
10:30 – 10:45 Break
10:45 – 11:30 General Lessons Learned: An Academic Perspective (Dr. Jerry Ellig, The George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center)
11:30 – 12:15 General Lessons Learned: An Agency Perspective (Dr. Amber Jessup, U.S. Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation)
12:15 – 12:30 Wrap-up (Jennifer Baxter)



Register here!


Benefit-Cost Analysis for Beginners

Organizer: Glenn Blomquist, University of Kentucky

Additional Presenter: David Weimer, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Description:

This short course will provide an introduction for 'beginners' who have not previously had formal instruction in BCA. It is designed to help those who encounter BCA to better understand its purpose and methods as well as those who are curious about how it might be useful in their work. Although some prior exposure to economics would be helpful, the workshop is designed to be accessible to a general audience. Upon completion of the workshop, attendees should have a clear understanding of the purpose, underlying concepts, strengths, and weaknesses of BCA.

The workshop will compare BCA to other analytical approaches commonly employed by policy analysts to put it into perspective. It will also introduce and explain a number of key BCA concepts including standing (whose costs and benefits count), incremental costs and benefits (clear alternatives to current policy), opportunity cost (what we give up to do the alternative), willingness to pay (how much people value the impacts of the alternative), 'shadow prices' (monetizing impacts), discounting (taking account of the timing of costs and benefits), and sensitivity analysis (taking account of uncertainty). Several examples of BCAs will be distributed prior to the workshop to provide illustrations of concepts and facilitate discussion among attendees.

Registration for this Workshop is $300.00 until January 31, 2020. After February 1st, prices increase.

Preliminary Agenda (Subject to Change)

8:30 – 8:40 Introductions and Overview (Blomquist)
8:40 – 9:00 History of BCA and Comparison to Other Analytical Methods (Weimer)
9:00 – 10:00 Key Concepts: Opportunity Cost, Willingness to Pay, Discounting (Blomquist)
10:00 – 10:15 Break
10:15 – 11:00 Applying the Concepts: Shadow Prices (Weimer)
11:00 – 11:45 Discussion of BCA Examples (Weimer and Blomquist)
11:45 – noon Wrap-up (Blomquist)

Register here!


Introduction to Benefit-Cost Analysis for Regulatory Impact Analysis

Organizer: Charles Griffiths, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Additional Presenters: Chris Dockins, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Aliya Sassi, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Description:

This workshop introduces the use of benefit-cost analysis to assess the impacts of regulations developed by the Federal government. The topics will include issues of identifying the market failure prompting government intervention, establishing the correct baseline, choosing the regulatory options, estimating benefits, estimating costs, and identifying transfers. The focus will be on analyses of U.S. environmental, health, and safety regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the last two decades, but the concepts and practices we discuss are equally applicable to analyses conducted in other policy areas and in other countries or at a sub-national level. The workshop will be structured as a series of presentations using examples from past EPA regulatory impact analyses (RIAs) to foster group discussion.

This workshop is intended for both economists and other practitioners who have a working knowledge of benefit-cost analysis and the general concept of measuring welfare effects. This working knowledge will then be applied to the RIA context. The two presenters are seasoned practitioners with substantial experience in conducting these analyses at the EPA. Prior to the workshop, we will contact registrants to learn more about their background and interests and will tailor the workshop content to their needs. We will also circulate a set of optional readings.

Registration for this Workshop is $300.00 until January 31, 2020. After February 1st, prices increase.

Preliminary Agenda (Subject to change):

9:00 – 9:15 Introductions and overview
9:15 – 9:45 Identifying the market failure
9:45 – 10:15 Establishing the correct baseline
10:15 - 10:30 Choosing Policy Options
10:30 - 10:45 Break
10:45 - 11:30 Estimating benefits
11:30 - 12:15 Estimates costs
12:15 - 12:30 Questions and answers

Register here!


Addressing Uncertainty and Non-Quantified Effects in Benefit-Cost Analysis

Organizer: Jennifer Baxter, Industrial Economics, Inc.

Additional Presenters: Victoria Greenfield, RAND Corporation; Aylin Sertkaya, Eastern Research Group; David Weimer, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Discription:

The practice of benefit-cost analysis often involves constructing models where information on key parameters is unavailable or incomplete. As a result, analysts rely on imperfect data and assumptions, which impact the results of the analysis. Best practices dictate that analysts should be clear about inherent sources of uncertainty in their results, and where possible, should characterize and analyze the importance of these sources of uncertainty.

In this workshop, we focus on the treatment of uncertainty in policy analysis. We describe and provide real-world examples of methods for identifying and characterizing key sources of uncertainty; probabilistic tools used in quantitative sensitivity and uncertainty analysis; and the use of expert elicitation to quantitatively parameterize uncertain judgments. We also discuss other approaches to addressing benefits when estimation is especially challenging. For example, logic modeling can be used to articulate plausible links between interventions and outcomes and to identify quantifiable intermediate measures, and break-even analysis can be used to identify threshold levels of effectiveness for benefits to exceed costs.

This workshop brings together leading experts and practitioners with diverse perspectives to discuss these methods and tools. It is targeted to 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, including real-world examples, with ample time for discussion. There are no prerequisites or requirements for participation.

Registration for this Workshop is $350.00 until January 31, 2020. After February 1st, prices increase.

Preliminary Agenda (Subject to Change) 

1:45 – 1:55 Introductions and Overview (Jennifer Baxter, Industrial Economics, Incorporated (IEc))
1:55 – 2:15 Starting Point: Qualitative Discussion of Key Sources of Uncertainty (Jennifer Baxter, IEc)
2:15 – 3:15 Quantitative Methods: Characterizing Uncertainty Using Probabilistic/Monte Carlo Analysis (David Weimer, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
3:15 – 3:30 Break
3:30 – 4:15 Expert Elicitation: Formalized Approach for Obtaining Judgments Regarding Uncertain Parameters (Aylin Sertkaya, Eastern Research Group (ERG))
4:15 – 5:00 Other Approaches to Addressing Benefits: Logic Modeling and Break-Even Analysis (Victoria Greenfield, RAND Corporation)
5:00 – 5:15 Wrap-up (Jennifer Baxter)



Register here!


A Voice Crying in the Wilderness? Techniques for Promoting the Use of Evidence and BCA Results to Policymakers

Organizer: Steven Lize, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Additonal Presenters: Gary VanLandingham, The Florida State University; John Kamensky, IBM Center for Business of Government

Description:

There are increasing calls for government officials to use benefit-cost analysis (BCA) and related forms of evidence to inform budget and policy decisions. Yet, as the intended consumers of BCA, policymakers are typically unfamiliar with the concepts, assumptions, and methods used to carry out these studies, which can cause confusion and/or dismissal of findings. It is thus critical for analysts to know how to present BCA findings and related evidence in a clear and convincing manner. It is also vital for analysts to build effective long-term relationships to gain the trust of policymakers, and to help them devise policy levers that promote the ongoing use of BCA results and related evidence into the policy process. 

This workshop will train participants on ways to effectively bring BCA results and related evidence to government officials in the fast-paced policy process and to help build a culture of evidence use within the executive and legislative branches. The presenters bring decades of experience working with public leaders and their key staff as well as best practices gained from working with federal and state government in the United States, and other national governments, to promote evidence-based policymaking. 

The topics will include effective modes of communicating complex findings to policymakers through presentations, reports, in-person briefings, and social media. It also includes effective approaches for building partnerships with policymakers and their key staff to gain the confidence and support of these key stakeholders, and discussion of proven mechanisms for promoting the use of BCA and rigorous evidence in the policy and budget processes. This half-day workshop includes a mixture of lecture-style presentation, discussion, and hands-on problem solving. Participants are encouraged to bring samples of their work as well as practical questions to collaborate on with the facilitators.

Registration for this Workshop is $375.00 until January 31, 2020. After February 1st, prices increase.

Preliminary Agenda (Subject to Change) 

1:45 – 2:00 Overview of workshop and learning objectives
2:00 – 2:45 Understanding the policymaking context
2:45 – 3:15 Analytical tools for showing the bottom line
3:15 – 3:30 Break 
3:30 – 4:15 Techniques for communicating economic analyses and related evidence
4:15 – 4:45 Helping policymakers create a culture of producing and using evidence 
4:45 - 5:15 Hands-on activity: refining your own communication plan



Register here!


Valuing Changes in Health and Longevity

Organizer: Lisa Robinson, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Description:

Improved health and longevity are the major goals of many interventions and programs, and often account for the majority of the quantified benefits of environmental, health, and safety policies and regulations. Because these risk reductions are not directly bought and sold in the marketplace, economists have developed a range of methods to estimate their value, focusing on individuals' willingness to pay (WTP) for the benefits they receive. For fatal risk reductions, the primary challenge is determining how to best use the available valuation research. For nonfatal risk reductions, relatively little valuation research is available and the primary challenges relate to the use of proxy measures. These proxies include monetized estimates of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) or disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and estimates of the averted direct and indirect costs of illness (COI). 

In this workshop, we will discuss the underlying concepts, the methods used for valuation, and the application of the results as well as related guidance. To the extent possible, we will focus on estimates applicable in the contexts of interest to workshop participants, discussing common defaults and practices in different countries and different policy areas. The workshop will combine presentations with substantial opportunities for discussion. Participants will develop a basic understanding of these measures and of their application.

Registration for this Workshop is $300.00 until January 31, 2020. After February 1st, prices increase.

Preliminary Agenda (Subject to Change)

1:45 - 2:00 Introductions and Overview 
2:00 - 2:30 Conceptual Framework
2:30 - 3:00 Methods: Nonmarket Valuation, Research Synthesis, and Benefit Transfer
3:00 - 3:15 Break 
3:15 - 4:00 Valuing Statistical Lives 
4:00 - 4:45 Valuing Non-Fatal Risks 
4:45 - 5:00 Willingness to Pay
5:00 - 5:15 Proxy Measures: Cost of Illness, Monetized QALYs and DALYs
5:15 - 5:45 General Discussion 



Register here!


Questions?

Please contact SBCA at info@benefitcostanalysis.org

2020 Workshop Subcommittee

  • Steven Lize, Chair (Pew Charitable Trusts)
  • Jennifer Baxter (Industrial Economics, Inc.)
  • Cristina McLaughlin (U.S. Food & Drug Administration)
  • Clark Nardinelli (U.S. Food & Drug Administration)
  • Stuart Shapiro (Rutgers University)  
  • Aliya Sassi (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)
  • Craig Thornton (Mathematica)