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SBCA Webinars

2020 Society Webinar Series

The Society for Benefit-Cost webinar series features new material and a few presentations originally scheduled for our March 2020 Annual Meeting. These presentations are free to Society members and (with limited exceptions) available to nonmembers for a fee. The list of past and future webinars is below along with information about how to view a recording (for past webinars) or to register.

If you find the Societys resources useful and want to support the benefit-cost analysis field, please consider becoming a member or making a donation.

The Society is planning to offer 6 webinars between July-December 2020.

All individual webinars will be free to SBCA members.
All individual webinars will be available to non-members at $35 per session.
Non-members can also bundle all 6 of the webinars for the $140. Register Now

The 20,000 Foot View, Really! (Advancing the Evaluation of the Socio-Economic Benefits of Earth Observation)

Date: Tuesday, November 10, 12:00-1:30 ET

Register now

Chair and Panelist: Massimo Florio, Department of Economics, Management, Quantitative Methods, Universita degli Studi di Milano

As more and more public and private investment in satellites takes place, the impact and benefit of observations of Earth from orbiting satellites also must be calculated. The data and images from satellites can aid policy makers in decision-making related to climate change, air pollution, urbanization, transportation and infrastructure, and many other key areas where perspectives from the Earth are not sufficient. But are the benefits worthy of the significant costs? This webinar will examine:

  • The use of microeconomics to measure the societal benefits of Earth observations;
  • The methods and challenges of measuring the socio-economic benefits of Earth observations;
  • The societal benefits of Earth observations, including impact-assessment results; and
  • Estimation of the impact of Earth observation on academic research production using a cost-benefit analysis approach.


  • Bethany Mabee, Resources for the Future
  • Valentina Morretta, Department of Economics, Management, Quantitative Methods, Universita degli Studi di Milano
  • Yusuke Kuwayama, Resources for the Future

Assessing Ways of Saving Lives During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A conversation with Kip Viscusi. June 30, 2020

A recording of this free webinar is available here.


W. Kip Viscusi Kip is a pioneer in developing the key concept used in assessing policy decisions involve tradeoffs between economic activity and mortality risks: the value of a statistical life. Kip is the University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management at Vanderbilt Law School, a former president of the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis, and author of the book: Pricing Lives: Guideposts for a Safer Society.

Tom Kniesner -- Tom is a university professor at the Claremont Graduate University, School of Social Science, Policy, and Evaluation and editor of the Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis. Toms research looks at the level and distribution of the economic benefits of life-saving government regulations.

Surviving Judicial Review. August 4, 2020 11:00-12:30 EDT

SBCA Members may view the Recording here

Chair: Jennifer Baxter, Industrial Economics, Inc.

Presidents have increasingly turned to administrative agencies to make substantive regulatory policy. But agency decisions are subject to judicial review, and success in those legal challenges is a key determinant of the pace and content of policymaking by the federal government. Please join us for a discussion of the characteristics of rulemakings and the regulatory development process affecting the likelihood that new rules will withstand legal scrutiny. We'll also discuss the impact of recent court rulings on the content and quality of the economic analyses produced by federal administrative agencies. This presentation includes presentations by three speakers and a discussant:

Jerry Ellig's paper:

John Graham's paper:

Roundtable Discussion: Recent Developments in the Market for Vaping Products and the Implications for Benefit-Cost Analysis.

August 11, 2020 11:00-12:30

SBCA Members may view the recording here

Chair: Donald Kenkel, Cornell University

Since the U.S. introduction of electronic cigarettes in 2007, vaping e-cigarettes has become increasingly popular. From the outset, the implications for public health have been controversial. E-cigarettes provide users with the addictive chemical nicotine but without exposing them to the harmful combustion-generated toxicants in cigarette smoke. On the one hand, because smoking combustible cigarettes is estimated to lead to almost 500,000 deaths each year, e-cigarettes have great potential as a harm reduction strategy. In particular, evidence from randomized clinical trials suggests that vaping e-cigarettes helps adult smokers quit. On the other hand, the growing popularity of vaping among adolescents raises concerns about nicotine addiction and the possibility that vaping might serve as a gateway into smoking. Recent developments make the tradeoffs even more stark. In August 2019 reports began to emerge of lung injury associated with e-cigarette products. The CDC reports that through February 2020 the outbreak of what it termed e-cigarette, or vaping, associated lung injuries (EVALI) involved 2,807 hospitalizations including 68 deaths. In addition to responding to the EVALI crisis, there is renewed interest in regulatory policies to reduce adolescent vaping. In December 2019 the federal government raised the minimum purchase age for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21. In January 2020, the FDA took actions which amount to at least a temporary ban of flavors in the type of e-cigarettes especially popular among adolescents.

The round table participants will discuss the rapidly evolving developments in the market for vaping products and the implications for benefit-cost analysis of tobacco regulatory policies.


  • Alan Mathios, Cornell University: The Impact of Relative Risk Perceptions of the Harm of E-Cigarettes on Quitting, Quit Intentions, and Intended Quit Methods
  • W. Kip Viscusi, Vanderbilt University
  • Michael Pesko, Georgia State University: The Effects of E-cigarette Taxes on E-cigarette Prices and Tobacco Product Sales: Evidence from Retail Panel Data."
  • Ayda Yurekli, Foundation for a Smoke Free World: Smoking Behavior for Combustible and Roll Your Own Cigarette Users in US

Analyzing and Presenting the Uncertainty in Benefit-Cost Analysis

Date: Tuesday, September 29, 11:00-12:30 ET

View the Recording here

Chair: Craig Thornton, President, Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis; Senior Fellow Emeritus, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

The panelists will discuss how to communicate uncertainty to decision makers who like benefit-cost analysis mostly for its single bottom line orientation, but would benefit from understanding the confidence that can be placed in that bottom line. The panel includes both practitioners and decision makers.


  • Susan Dudley, George Washington Universit Regulatory Studies Centr
  • Nancy Bergeron, Measurement Canada & CBA Community of Practice of the Community of Federal Regulators
  • David Long, Princeton Policy Associates
  • Clark Nardinelli, Past President, Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis; Former Chief Economist, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Randall Lutter, Senior Science and Regulatory Advisor, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

More to come