Failure to consider costs as well as benefits is common in many policy initiatives and analyses, particularly in the environmental arena. Economists and other policy scientists have demonstrated that integrating both cost and benefit information explicitly into the policy process can be vital to ensuring that scarce funds go as far as they can toward achieving policy objectives. The costs of acquiring and analyzing such information, however, can be substantial. The objective of this paper is to help policy analysts and practitioners identify the conditions under which integrating cost and benefit information is likely to be vital to effective decisionmaking, and the conditions under which failing to use both cost and benefit data would result in little, if any, loss in efficiency. These points are illustrated through a conceptual discussion and an empirical analysis of a conservation initiative in the United States. © 2003 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2003
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