Federal Standards for Benefit Cost Analyses of Social Programs

Many prevention researchers undertake benefit-cost analyses of a program, not because they seek to improve the intervention's efficiency, but because they want to be able to demonstrate the intervention's value to practitioners and policy makers. In such cases it is important that analysts consider the standards and principles guiding BCA's within government in order to ensure estimates are as useful. There are two documents that may be of use to those interested BCA for such purposes. The first is a report by Richard Zerbe, Yuta Masuda & Tyler Davis at the Evans School of Public Affairs. The second is a paper published by Lisa Robinson comparing how different Federal Agencies value a statistical life. Dr. Zerbe's report details the different Office of Management and Budget and Executive Orders that guide current governmental BCA's (as of 2008). Dr. Robertson's paper summarizes US government-wide guidelines for valuing mortality risk reductions and discusses the implications of different approaches.

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