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News and Working Papers

 April 26, 2018

By Henrik Andersson 



Despite the obvious attraction of Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) for policy evaluation, its implementation rate varies across countries and sectors.  A Symposium in the Spring 2018 Issue of the Journal of Benefit Cost Analysis explores how BCA is being applied in different sectors, countries, and institutional settings in Europe.   The Symposium articles support the generally held view that Europe lags behind the United States when it comes to using BCA for policy evaluation. However, the past couple of decades have seen a change, with BCA becoming more accepted and more widely implemented in European policy making, at both the national and European levels.  This post by Henrik Andersson discusses the findings of the Symposium articles, which also identify some of the challenges in implementing this evaluation tool in actual decision making.

 

                                      

  April 11, 2018

  By W. Kip Viscusi

 Proper application of the value of a statistical life (VSL) is essential to preventing the systematic undervaluation of life throughout the world. This new post from W. Kip Viscusi       argues that the values used by government agencies to monetize prospective risk reductions should be consistent with the values estimated in the economic literature.  Doing so would   significantly increase the values used in many countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia. Moreover, the values the United States assigns to fatalities in setting regulatory   sanctions are extremely low, which creates a disparity between the values used in setting regulations and the values used to enforce regulations. A more consistent approach would apply a value to sanctions that is comparable to the value used for VSL.

March 7, 2018 

By Elisabeth Gilmore

As a teacher of benefit-cost analysis (BCA), I find that current events often provide "teachable moments". The review by the current administration of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a cornerstone of the Obama era climate change regulations, is one such event. Federal regulations that may have significant impacts on segments of the economy are subject to an assessment that contains a BCA. The CPP adopted under the Obama administration was accompanied by a finding that benefits exceeded costs. However, the revised estimates produced by the Trump administration indicate that costs exceed benefits. Each year, many students in my class question the usefulness of BCA in promoting good policy, often asking whether the BCA framework is too flexible, and therefore meaningless. Does this example support their skepticism? I am anticipating some tough questions from my students and here’s how I plan to answer them.As a teacher of benefit-cost analysis (BCA), I find that current events often provide "teachable moments". The review by the current administration of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a cornerstone of the Obama era climate change regulations, is one such event. Federal regulations that may have significant impacts on segments of the economy are subject to an assessment that contains a BCA. The CPP adopted under the Obama administration was accompanied by a finding that benefits exceeded costs. However, the revised estimates produced by the Trump administration indicate that costs exceed benefits. Each year, many students in my class question the usefulness of BCA in promoting good policy, often asking whether the BCA framework is too flexible, and therefore meaningless. Does this example support their skepticism? I am anticipating some tough questions from my students and here’s how I plan to answer them.

February 12, 2017

By Barry Friedman 

The Journal of Benefit Cost Analysis and the Policing Project at New York University School of Law teamed up to host a symposium on the use of benefit-cost analysis in a domain in which it is all too absent: policing. (Policing tends to have many definitions, but generally we mean it here to refer to any use of force or surveillance of the populace for reasons of achieving public safety.) The goal of this Symposium on Benefit-Cost Analysis of Policing Practices, and the conference that preceded it, is to interest more scholars in working in this vital field, and to identify and begin to tackle some of the methodological challenges the field faces.

 

The Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis (SBCA) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Drohan Management Group (DMG) as the organization’s new management service and support team. The selection was made through a competitive procurement process. DMG will provide overall management for the Society, effective January 1, 2018.

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