It is sometimes said that benefit-cost analysis adds up impacts “to whomsoever they accrue”. But in practice that general guidance is more complex and it is the issue of “standing” that defines more precisely whose benefits and costs are to be counted. As in law, where to bring a suit one must have “standing” before the court; so too in benefit-cost analysis must conditions be described for what and whose benefits and costs count. Key issues involve not only whose preferences count (should “foreigners”?), but also which preferences (should criminal activity count?) and over what period of time? As with law, some answers are not clear-cut but can create useful and informative class discussion on sensitive topics.
Richard O. Zerbe
This collection brings together the key papers in the area of efficiency in law and economics. The research review covers the applications of economic efficiency to law and the limitations and morality of efficiency. It will appeal to anyone interested in the underlying welfare theory relating to the use of economics in law, examining both the history and impact of the theory, as well as its deficiencies.
Richard O. Zerbe Jr.
Benefit–cost analysis is at heart a subject of practicality and usefulness. With this in mind, the author has chosen to discuss the most relevant previously published articles. Having explored the theoretical and ethical underpinnings of the subject, the research review then addresses some major policy issues and debates. These include the institutional arrangements through which benefit–cost analyses would be most useful to the policy and decision process, the need for a set of principles and standards to unify benefit–cost analysis methods, the use of general equilibrium analysis and the proper treatment of uncertainty and risk.