News and Working Papers

This year, for the first time, I attended the Annual SBCA Conference, which was held in Washington, D.C. on March 14-16, 2018. As a relatively new member of the SBCA community and first time SBCA Conference attendee, I was delighted by the breadth and depth of the presentations and discussions. The breadth was evident in the range of topics, which ranged from underlying theory to practical analysis to policy implications.

Report from the SBCA President on the 2018 Annual Conference and The Plenary Presentation by Tomas Philipson

By Don Kenkel

It was my honor to preside over the 2018 Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis (SBCA) Conference  held March 14 – 16 at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. I am happy to report that by all indications it was another successful conference. We had 319 total registrants from 19 countries across 5 continents. U.S. participants represented 31 states and D.C. Half of all participants were affiliated with the U.S. federal government. The next largest group were academics (almost one-third); other attendees were from the private sector or from state and international government agencies. The three pre-conference professional development workshops were well attended and also drew a mix of participants from federal, state, and international agencies, as well as academics.

 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.