Level 3
Public Policy Analytical Methods for Scientists, Engineers, and Health Professionals: Understanding and Evaluating Benefit-Cost, Cost-Effectiveness, and Risk Analysis

Introduction 

Benefit-cost analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, and risk analysis are quantitative techniques used to support the assessment of effectiveness,  efficiency and equity in the policy analysis process.  More than any other analytical technique they are critical in policymaker decision-making as benefit-cost is required by executive orders or regulations and risk-based regulations and enforcement activities -- particularly those related to the environment, health, worker safety, transportation, privacy/security, and energy policy.

 

Educational Outcomes 

In this “learn by doing” class, students will enhance their understanding of:

  • What are benefit-cost analysis (BCA), cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA), and risk analysis (RA), and why are they important to program evaluation and policy analysis

  • The steps and methods used to conduct BCA, CEA, and RA, including sources of information, and sensitivity analysis.

  • Communicating the results of BCA, CEA, and RA, and how this related to policymaker decisions.

  • Understanding the difference between a good and poor BCA, CEA, and RA

 

Class Topics

  • What are benefit-cost analysis (BCA), cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA), and risk analysis (RA), and why are they important to program evaluation and policy analysis?

  • What is the difference between a BCA and a CEA?

  • What are the steps in conducting a BCA?

  • What are the steps in conducting a CEA?

  • What are some applications of BCA and CEA?

  • What are the differences between risk analysis, risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication?

  • What are the steps in conducting an RA?

  • What are some applications of RA?

  • What are the principles for risk communication?

  • What are the differences between a good and poor BCA, CEA, and RA?