Benefit–Cost Analyses for Security Policies

Benefit–Cost Analyses for Security Policies

Does Increased Safety Have to Reduce Efficiency?

Edited by Carol Mansfield and V. K. Smith

Benefit–Cost Analyses for Security Policies describes how to undertake the evaluation of security policies within the framework of benefit–cost analysis and offers a unique contribution to analysis of homeland security regulations in the United States. The authors outline how established procedures for benefit–cost analysis must adapt to meet challenges posed by current security policy, through examining specific security related regulations. The logic of risk assessment, selection of a discount rate, valuation of travellers’ time when delayed due to screening, valuation of changes in risks of injury or death, and impacts of terrorist events on the economy as a whole are among the issues discussed. An outline of the research and policy evaluation steps needed to build robust benefit-cost methods to evaluate security related regulations in the future is presented in the book.

Chapter 1: Introducing the issues: meeting the challenges in evaluating homeland security policies

Carol Mansfield and V. Kerry Smith

Subjects: economics and finance, methodology of economics, public sector economics, politics and public policy, terrorism and security


The task of evaluating the benefits and costs of public policies intended to enhance homeland security poses unique problems. After 9/11, the risks faced by the United States (US) population and policies needed to address them were seen in different terms. Prior to 9/11, national defense and security were often used as examples of ‘pure public goods’ in introductory economics texts. One of the earliest comprehensive texts, by Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson (1976), defined public goods using security as an example.