Plenary Sessions Program |  Program Committee


The SBCA 2022 Annual Conference was held virtually on March 17-18 and 21-22More than 70 sessions, presented by scholars, practitioners, public sectors, and consultants from over 30 countries, delved into topics that included (1) Distribution, Equity, and Fairness, (2) Conceptual Issues and Methods in BCA and Evaluation, (3) Education and Poverty, (4) Environmental and Natural Resources, (5) Health and Safety (6) Infrastructure and Transportation, and (7) Regulation, Process, and Law. Plenary sessions featured distinguished experts. The virtual format allowed SBCA to engage speakers and other participants who would not otherwise be able to attend, record some sessions for later viewing by participants, and take advantage of the flexibility offered by the online platform more generally. 

Plenary Sessions

  • Distribution and Disputation:  Net Benefits, Equity, and the Place of Benefit-Cost Analysis in Public Decision MakingH. Spencer Banzhaf, Georgia State.  Benefit-cost analysis walks a fine line between the positive and normative, between the science of economics and the art of political economy. Missteps can undermine its credibility, while overcaution risks irrelevance to current policy. As BCA adapts to give more weight to distributional concerns, while operating in a more highly charged political environment, these tensions will only grow. 

  • China's Belt and Road Initiative: New Research Agenda in Cost-Benefit AnalysisEuston Quah, NTU Singapore. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) seeks to increase trade and contribute to global economic growth through increased connectivity, ports' development, building transport networks, pipelines, and other major infrastructures stretching from the northwestern part of China through Central Asia and Middle East through Africa and onwards to Europe.  We discuss key challenges if any success of the BRI is to materialize and how they may constitute a new research agenda for cost-benefit analysis. 
  • Modernizing Regulatory Analysis: A conversation with former OIRA Administrators, Sally Katzen (Clinton, June 1993 – February 1997); Susan Dudley (Bush, April 2007 – January 2009); Boris Bershteyn (Obama, August 2012 – June 2013); Paul Ray (Trump, January 2020 – January 2021); moderated by Richard Revesz, NYU School of Law.  President Biden issued a Memorandum on Regulatory Review that directed OIRA and federal agencies to suggest how the regulatory review process can promote goals such as racial justice and equity and to recommend revisions to Circular A-4, Regulatory Analysis” (2003).  This conversational panel of former administrators of the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will share their insights on what to expect regarding benefit-cost analysis of regulations that includes distributional consequences and equity. 
  • Who Wins and Who Loses: Inequality and Regulation: A conversation with John Graham, Indiana University; Lori Bennear, Duke University; John Mendeloff, University of Pittsburgh; Severin Borenstein, University of California, Berkeley; Lisa Robinson, Harvard University; and moderated by Cary Coglianese, University of Pennsylvania.  Since 1993, U.S. Presidents have required that Federal agencies consider the effects of their regulations on distribution and equity; the Biden Administration has confirmed and emphasized this requirement. However, relatively little is known about the extent to which regulations exacerbate or ameliorate inequality, and these effects are often difficult to estimate. This panel brings together experts in several policy areas to discuss what we do, and do not, know about the effects of regulation on inequality, and to identify the issues most in need of attention. 
  • Leveraging Machine Learning Estimates of Treatment Effect Heterogeneity to Improve Equity and Cost-Effectiveness, Esther Duflo, MIT, winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics. This talk will show that combining randomized controlled trials with machine learning methods can produce a consistent estimate of treatment effect heterogeneity by baseline covariates, which can then potentially be used to target programs better. The main application will be to a childhood immunization encouragement  program in India.


View the Program

SBCA 2022 Program Committee

Chair: Glenn Blomquist

Committee members: Dan AclandDeborah Aiken, Henrik AnderssonMarian delos Angeles, Caroline CecotRichard Damania, Joe DevlinSandra Hoffmann, Kirsten Jensen, Aaron Kearsley, Tom Kniesner, Nellie Lew, Steve LizeLala Ma, Arif A. Mamun, Euston Quah, Lisa A. Robinson, Monica Marcela Jaime Torres, Craig Thornton, Ann Wolverton, and Dale Whittington.