Benefit–Cost Analyses for Security Policies
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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.
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Chapter 3: Lessons from risk assessment, economics, and risk management at EPA

Chris Dockins and William Wheeler


Economic analysis is a key component of risk management; it has been required for ‘economically significant’ federal regulations as part of regulatory review requirements under Executive Orders 12291 (issued in 1981) and 12866 (issued in 1993) and their successors. Even without the requirements of 12866, economic analysis, and particularly benefit–cost analysis, of proposed regulations is an important undertaking in its own right. Benefit–cost analysis can identify where investments of scarce resources provide positive net returns, and can be a valuable input into prioritizing policy actions. Those actions that cannot demonstrate positive net benefits should be considered carefully because they are not a step toward economic efficiency, although they may well be justified on other important grounds. Even when all benefits and costs cannot be quantitatively included in an analysis, careful enumeration of the types of benefits and costs expected, and qualitative information on their importance, can inform policy makers and the general public.

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