generated: 2024-04-02 13:52:05
All times in US Eastern Time

Program at a Glance

Sunday March 17, 2024
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Monday March 18, 2024
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM
10:45 AM - 12:15 PM
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
2:15 PM - 3:45 PM
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Tuesday March 19, 2024
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Thursday April 4, 2024
1:00 AM - 2:30 AM
2:45 AM - 4:15 AM
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM
10:45 AM - 12:15 PM
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Friday April 5, 2024
1:00 AM - 2:30 AM
2:45 AM - 4:15 AM
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

SBCA Program

1. Informal Welcome Reception [Plenary]
Sunday | 6:00 pm-7:30 pm | Melrose Georgetown Hotel (Potomac I - II)
2. Catherine Wolfram: Opportunities for Carbon Pricing in the United States* [Plenary]
Monday | 9:00 am-10:30 am | GWU Grand Ballroom
3. Health 1 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Monday | 10:45 am-12:15 pm | GWU Student Center 301
  • Impact of Policies and Regulations on Tobacco Harm Reduction Products, Smoking Trends, as well as on Public Health and Economic Outcomes. .....Harris Siagian, Indonesian Development Foundation
  • Despite numerous tobacco control policies in Indonesia, smoking prevalence has not significantly decreased. This study seeks to understand consumer behavior and decision-making regarding combustibles (CCs), electronic cigarettes (ECs), and smoking cessation. The public health effects of these choices are also studied. The project employs a discrete choice experiment (DCE) with 600 respondents and in-depth interviews in Indonesia. The DCE attributes include price changes due to excise taxes, nicotine content, flavor, and warning messages (pictorial or text). This study fills the gap concerning stated preferences for tobacco harm reduction products (THRPs) in responding to policy changes. Our findings suggest that price has the largest effect on smokers’ behavioral changes, as indicated by high price elasticity. Changes in price yield diverse effects on smoking prevalence. The number of CC smokers is expected to decrease and tend to shift to ECs that are perceived as less harmful products. Furthermore, we discovered that shifting from CCs to ECs exhibited variations across different age and socio-economic characteristics. Young smokers and individuals in higher-income groups are more inclined to shift from CCs to ECs. However, the higher-income group has a higher possibility of becoming dual users. In addition, the pictorial warning doesn’t have a significant impact on smoking cessation or shifting from CCs to ECs. Although the consumption of CCs has slightly declined due to higher prices, the state's revenue from cigarette sales has increased. In this regard, the cigarette pricing policy has been an effective instrument for controlling smoking prevalence. Public-health-wise, free-smoking-zone policy reduces externalities and exposure to second-hand smoke. Nevertheless, ineffective law enforcement has hindered the reduction of smoking prevalence and the raising of public health awareness.
  • Reassessing Benefit-Cost Analysis with the GRACE Approach: A Stroke Application. .....Lawrence Hsu, Johns Hopkins University
  • Individuals who have experienced acute ischemic stroke (AIS) often face degrees of lasting disability post-recovery; therefore, a direct benefit-cost analysis (BCA) based on a linear transformation of quality-adjusted life years (QALY) using willingness-to-pay could introduce biases, which ultimately underestimates the value of innovative interventions. To address this issue, we adapt the Generalized Risk-adjusted Cost-Effectiveness (GRACE) framework to capture risk attitudes based on heterogeneous health states, tailored to the nature of AIS. Additionally, we propose a comparison between traditional and GRACE-based BCA with an additional adjustment considering the caregiver’s burden according to the patient’s post-stroke state of exacerbation. The major contribution of this presentation is that we are among the first to apply GRACE since the exact formula was released in early 2023. Furthermore, we are also pioneers in adjusting BCA to account for the caregiver’s burden based on the patient’s health status. In this presentation, we analyze a subset of deidentified patient data from the adult emergency department, focusing on individuals who had intra-arterial thrombolysis following an acute stroke event between 2014 and 2018. We first utilize propensity-score matching to quantify risk reduction resulting from an artificial intelligence intervention, which shortened an average of 57 minutes (median: 45 minutes) of decision and logistic time since symptom identification. Subsequently, we convert bins of post-operative health status into QALY for a standard BCA; in parallel, we apply the GRACE approach to address BCA based on alternative health status. Finally, we incorporate potential cost-saving benefits based on a lighter burden among caregivers on both sides, demonstrating at least a three-fold difference in BCA over the disability adjustments within a 5-year horizon.
  • Market Versus Policy Responses to Wage Impacts of Covid-19. .....Robert Cramer, Vanderbilt University; Elissa Gentry, Florida State University; and Kip Viscusi, Vanderbilt University
  • The unprecedented occupational risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic prompted employers to boost wages, and led state and federal authorities to propose policies to compensate affected workers. This article estimates a market-based compensating differential for workers facing elevated risk through contact with the public using the exogenous shock to occupational risk created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Using data from the CPS MORG for 2019-2020 and data on work activities from U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Information Network (O*NET), this article finds a practically and statistically significant compensating differential. The average annual pandemic pay increase for exposures to public risks was $780 overall and $1,000 for essential workers, and this premium is robust to a number of screens. While falling short of the hazard premiums proposed---but not enacted---by the federal government, the premium is more commensurate with the value of a statistical life for other risks. The mismatch between the proposed policies and the market compensating differential warns against the dangers of policy overreactions.
4. Theory / Methods 1 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Monday | 10:45 am-12:15 pm | GWU Student Center 302
  • The Foundation of Benefit-Cost Analysis. .....Richard Zerbe, University of Washingto
  • The paper I propose will examine the foundations of benefit-cost analysis in terms of history, scientific underpinnings, and criticisms. In doing this I will build on and add to my own and others’ work. Included in the discussion will be the development and use of the Kaldor-Hicks criteria, criticisms of it including the Scitovsky reversal paradox, and the discount rate controversies. The paper will not be a complete exegesis but rather will focus on my judgement as regards the more correct and salient materials and more meaningful controversies.
  • The Value of a Statistical Life at the Tails of the Age Distribution. .....Thomas Kniesner, ; and Kip Viscusi, Vanderbilt University
  • The Biden Administration has begun an effort to modernize regulatory review in the U.S. federal government. The current state of thinking is summarized in an April 6, 2023, draft of revisions to Circular A-4, which guides agencies regulatory analysis. Included in the guidance document are indications for using estimated values of a statistical life (VSL) for children and for the elderly. Because of the longer life expectancy for children regulators can consider adding a premium to their value of a statistical life. This is inconsistent with the VSL trajectory over the life cycle. Revised regulatory guidance also indicates against adjustments that reduce VSL for the elderly because of their lower life expectancy. We identify and recommend how to fix iinefficient and inequitable age adjustments among applications of VSL in regulatory analysis in the U.S. government that include practices by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Innovative Approaches to Estimating the Economic Returns to Innovation. .....Amanda Walsh, RTI International; Jonathan Merker, RTI International; Sara Nienow, RTI International; Alan O'Connor, RTI International; Brooke Shaw, RTI International; and Smith Daniel, RTI International
  • Varied and innovative approaches are needed to assess the economic returns to emerging technologies and innovation. There are often limited or no comparative scenarios for estimating the impacts of a revolutionary application, and impact mechanisms vary drastically for each application. Applications may also touch on a wide array of subjects, including Education and Labor Force Training, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, International Trade, Food and Agriculture, Health, International Development, Homeland Security, and Transportation and Infrastructure. Hence, technology and innovation researchers must draw from a variety of economic impact estimations techniques, including market analysis, benefits transfer, and stated or revealed preference methods. Using a mixed-methods approach can fill quantitative data gaps with qualitative inputs (e.g., through expert elicitation), while providing multiple impact scenarios and threshold assessments can clarify the influence of qualitatively-driven modelling assumptions on study results. I present three case studies conducted by RTI, International that estimate the economic impacts of public contributions to emerging technologies in the United States and Australia. The cases represent both perspective and prospective analyses using a range of assessment techniques. First, we estimate the increase in consumer surplus derived from hard drive price decreases from 1997 through 2005, driven by technological advances that were dependent on neutron scattering research conducted at U.S. research reactors. Second, we use revealed preference data on the Australian demand for chicken egg ethical standards (i.e., uncaged, free range, or organic) to estimate the potential increase in revenue derived from Australia's CSIRO developing a chicken egg that does not rely on the practice of culling male chicks during the layer hen breeding process. Third, we estimate the economic and environmental impacts of a revolutionary DNA-based fish ageing technology developed by CSIRO, using market analyses of the Australian fisheries industry and benefits transfers to estimate the impact of preserving shark species.
5. Labor / Workplace [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Monday | 10:45 am-12:15 pm | GWU Student Center 307
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis of Reducing Worker Exposure to Radon and Thermal Stress. .....Troy Joseph, Labour Program, Government of Canada; and Paul Reeder, Labour Program
  • The Government of Canada’s Labour Program is conducting a Benefit-Cost Analysis of amendments to its regulations that protect the health and safety of employees in federally regulated workplaces. This analysis examines the impacts of proposed changes to lower the allowable exposure limits to radon gas in the workplace, and thermal stress faced by employees in indoor and outdoor work settings. We propose to present the Benefit-Cost Analysis of the anticipated impact of the regulations, over the 20-year period after the regulations are introduced. For exposure to radon gas, the industries that would be most strongly affected are those with a high proportion of office workers, where the place of employment is primarily within buildings, such as in the banking and public service sectors. The results of the benefit-cost modelling point to significant reductions in the incidence of lung cancer in affected workplaces, with impacts estimated separately for smokers and non-smokers to reflect their differential risks of developing lung cancer. Other anticipated benefits are assessed from estimations of the willingness to pay for investments in radon-reduction in residential settings by homeowners, such as sealing cracks or blocking drains. For thermal stress, productivity losses linked to working in temperature extremes, that is exposure to excessive heat and cold conditions, are quantified for both indoor and outdoor workers, applicable mainly to the rail, telecommunications, energy, and air-transportation sectors. The presentation would address the geographical distribution of impacts across the Canadian federal jurisdiction, characterized by wide differences in climate and levels of naturally-occurring radon gas. We will share how these amendments affect different sectors and types of employment, highlighting disparities and identifying opportunities for optimization. Finally, we will share how these health and safety measures impact the administrative burden on businesses, and how measures are being designed to minimize disruptions to commercial operations.
  • A Welfare Analysis of Universal Childcare: Lessons From a Canadian Reform. .....Sébastien Montpetit, Toulouse School of Economics; Luisa Carrer, Toulouse School of Economics; and Pierre-Loup Beauregard, Toulouse School of Economics
  • Recent research shows that early-childhood interventions targeted at disadvantaged households can yield large returns on initial public investment. However, the extent to which such benefits extend to universal programs remains an open question. Leveraging the introduction of universal low-fee daycare in Quebec in 1997, this paper evaluates the welfare effect of universal childcare provision. First, using novel data on daycare coverage rates within Quebec and a difference-in-differences design, we show that the positive impacts on maternal labor supply and childcare use are larger in areas where daycare expanded more. Thus, childcare availability, rather than just the price decrease, is also responsible for the observed behavioral responses. In the second part of the paper, we estimate the benefit-to-net-cost ratio of the policy while notably taking into account its non-marginal nature. We estimate mothers' utility gains using a model of maternal labor supply and childcare choices, incorporating non-pecuniary benefits for mothers, such as non-monetary costs of childcare use, and childcare availability. Structural estimates indicate that mothers' benefits are more than 3.5 dollars per dollar of net government spending - more than twice that obtained when solely focusing on earnings gains. As such, our findings suggest that non-pecuniary benefits for mothers are a key component of welfare gains of universal policies. Counterfactual simulations suggest that channelling more resources towards opening spots, rather than to lowering prices, could have led to even larger social returns.
  • Unemployment Insurance Monthly Benefits, Pay Frequency, and Claimants' Job Search Behavior. .....Guangli Zhang, Saint Louis University
  • This paper studies how the unemployment insurance (UI) benefit profile and payment schedule impact claimants' behaviors. The study reveals that liquidity-unconstrained claimants are less likely to exit UI in months following a high likelihood of an extra benefit check. Additionally, there is indicative evidence that these claimants are less likely to exit UI when their benefit profile begins with a high probability of extra benefits. Moreover, leveraging state-level policy variation in the benefit pay schedule, the paper documents that switching from biweekly to weekly pay induces claimants to have higher reservation wages and reduces exiting hazard. This paper provides novel evidence that the timing and the monthly profiles of benefit payments are important to consider when designing social insurance policies.
6. Distributional Issues* [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Monday | 10:45 am-12:15 pm | GWU Student Center 309

Organizer: John Whitehead, Appalachian State University
Chair: Bonnie Keeler, University of Minnesota
  • Valuing the Mississippi River: A pluralistic assessment of the equity and efficiency implications of clean water policies. .....Bonnie Keeler, University of Minnesota; Frank Lupi, University of Minnesota; Spencer Wood, University of Washington; and Natalie Warren, University of Minnesota
  • Federal guidance to consider the equity impacts of policies has garnered much debate, but few practical examples of what this approach might look like in practice. Beyond distributional assessments, how might policy analysts evaluate equity, justice, and other difficult to monetize benefits of environmental policies? We present results from a multi-year study on the equity and efficiency implications of policies designed to improve water quality in the Mississippi River. Our interdisciplinary approach includes qualitative data collected via interviews and document review, distributed data collection using mobile technologies, community engagement, and traditional stated preference surveys. We discuss opportunities and challenges in integrating pluralistic forms of valuation into policy analysis and provide suggestions for researchers seeking to expand their methodological toolkit for values that are difficult or impossible to monetize.
  • Community engaged economics research for the clean energy transition. .....Beia Spiller, Resources for the Future; Danae Hernandez-Cortes, Arizona State University; Neha Khanna, Binghamton University; and Mehri Mohebbi, University of Florida
  • The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 allocated substantial resources to propel the clean energy transition, with a specific emphasis on equity for environmental justice communities and low-income households. While the IRA holds promise for significant emissions reductions, the imperative of equitable outcomes necessitates active community involvement. Environmental economists are uniquely positioned to evaluate the IRA's impact on environmental justice, but conventional economic policy analysis may not sufficiently address the intricacies of this endeavor. This paper delves into the role of Community-Engaged Research (CEnR) in the field of environmental economics, shedding light on its potential to enhance research methodologies and promote community engagement. CEnR represents an evolution in research practices, encompassing ethical considerations and fostering community perspectives to imbue academic contributions with real-world relevance. This paper examines the role of CEnR in environmental economics research, evaluating its adoption within the field. It discusses notable CEnR practices and highlights its potential for enhancing research methodologies. More broadly, it underscores the importance of integrating community insights into economic research, in order to ensure our research is grounded in real-world conditions and that our clean energy policy recommendations reflect the needs, concerns and interests of the communities they will affect.
  • Clean Water and Climate Resilience: Policy Trade-offs and Environmental Justice. .....Margaret Walls, Resources for the Future; Yanjun (Penny) Liao, Resources for the Future; and Emma DeAngeli, Resources for the Future
  • Approximately 20 percent of households in the United States depend on on-site waste disposal, or septic, systems. In coastal areas, sea level rise affects the functioning of these systems. A rising water table makes it hard for septic systems to properly drain and filter wastewater, leading to backups of waste into homes and contamination of soils and waterways. This problem is of growing concern in many communities along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, including the state of Maryland where sea level rise is higher than average and 46 percent of homes in the most flood-prone areas rely on septic. In this study, we use data on property sales in coastal counties of Maryland over an 18-year period to estimate the value of sewer access as reflected in property prices, exploring heterogeneity in these values across two spatial dimensions: (1) degree of flood risk and (2) social vulnerability, as measured by the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index. More than 30 percent of flood-exposed septic properties in Maryland are in census tracts that fall within the 75th percentile or above for social vulnerability. We then analyze alternative ways of prioritizing sewer connections and the implications for equity in outcomes. The Bay Restoration Fund of Maryland, which supports septic upgrades and sewer connections, prioritizes properties within 1,000 feet of tidal waters or wetlands. Since 2004, 62 percent of all septic replacements have occurred in these areas, where property assessed values are on average 34% higher than other areas. We evaluate alternative options to achieve the water quality objectives for the program, address the problems associated with coastal flooding, and accomplish both goals in a more equitable way. Our analysis provides some of the first estimates of the value of sewer access and sheds new light on it as an equity issue under climate change.
  • Distributional Impacts of the Decentralization of Flood Adaptation and Infrastructure Funding. .....Patrick Walsh, US EPA NCEE; Ryan Paulik, National Institue of Water and Atmospheric Research; and Thomas Robertson, Independent Consultant
  • Floods are the most frequent, economically damaging natural hazard in New Zealand. In early 2023, the country experienced the worst flooding in its history, with estimated of billions of damages and over 30,000 insurance claims. Meanwhile, flood management in New Zealand has changed significantly over the past several decades, moving from central government-directed planning to a devolved approach run by local governments. In most Regional Councils, the devolved approach involves “flood schemes,” which use targeted taxes to fund flood-related infrastructure. These schemes place the burden of infrastructure funding on those that most benefit from it. On the other hand, resources vary significantly across local governments, so there is concern about the equitable location of flood schemes. In fact, many localities allow communities to self-select into flood schemes via local votes or meetings. This paper analyzes the distributional implications of flood schemes by econometrically testing several hypotheses about their location. First, we analyze a national database of insurance claims to test the effectiveness of flood schemes. Insurance claims data come from the Earthquake Commission (EQC), who cover the first $100,000 (NZD) in flood related claims. Initial results suggest that areas with flood schemes have significantly less claims. In our distributional analysis, we find that flood scheme locations are significantly related to flood risk, as well as local industry and infrastructure. On a broad level, the schemes appear to be deployed in a fashion conducive to protecting local economies. However, we also find that flood scheme location is related to local socio-economic factors, especially income. This raises concerns about the deployment of flood infrastructure to poor areas. Since the schemes are funded by property taxes, poor areas are less likely to be able to pay them, and hence solicit them.
7. Recent Developments in U.S. Regulations: Benefits, Costs, and Other Implications* [Roundtable/Panel]
Monday | 10:45 am-12:15 pm | GWU Amphitheater

Organizer: Craig Thornton, Mathematica
Chair: Lisa Robinson, Harvard University

  • Dom Mancini, OIRA;
  • Jonathan Wiener, Duke University;
  • Kevin Bromberg, Bromberg Regulatory Strategy, LLC;
  • Mark Febrizio, George Washington University;
8. SBCA Awards Luncheon and Business Meeting* [Plenary]
Monday | 12:30 pm-2:00 pm | GWU Grand Ballroom
9. Health 2 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Monday | 2:15 pm-3:45 pm | GWU Student Center 301
  • The Effect of Climate Change on Mortality Rate: Evidence from China. .....Zhenjie Jin, Peking University; Yuanyuan Yi, Peking University; and Jintao Xu, Peking University
  • This paper investigates the impact of climate change on mortality rate in China. Leveraging mortality data from Disease Surveillance Point System and weather data from China Surface Climate Daily Dataset ranging from 2013 to 2018, we use weight least square method to estimate the county-month level mortality rate effect from the change in number of days in each temperature bin constructed from daily mean temperature. We find that, an increase in the number of days in both extreme high and low daily mean temperature would result in a significant increase in mortality rate, and the results remain robust when we switch the temperature variable to daily maximum or minimum temperature. Furthermore, we found that the effect is heterogeneous in many aspects. In terms of regional difference, the northern region in China is more susceptible to extreme high temperature than the country average, whereas the change in mortality rate in southern region rises more quickly in extreme low temperature. In terms of temperature exposure, less high but more persistent temperature results in higher mortality rate than higher but more transient temperature. Meanwhile, we also find that air pollution concentration as well as specific humidity also alter the magnitude of temperature-mortality relation. Moreover, the results also suggests that there is age, cause of death as well as education heterogeneity in the temperature-mortality relationship.
  • The Choice of a Health Outcome Metric: People’s Preferences from Seven Developing Countries. .....Richard Carson, UC-San Diego; Helena Cardenas, Nature Conservancy; Michael Hanemann, Arizona State University; Gunnar Köhlin, University of Gothenburg; Vic Adamowicz, University of Alberta; Thomas Sterner, University of Gothenburg; Franklin Amuakwa-Mensah, Luleå University of Technology; Francisco Alpizar, Wageningen University; and Dale Whittington, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Health professionals use two main health outcome metrics to measure how health and environmental interventions reduce mortality risks. The first is simply the number of lives saved by the intervention, which can be monetized using a value of a statistical life (VSL). The second is the number of life-years saved, which are often adjusted to reflect the quality of each life-year saved (expressed in quality-adjusted life years or disability-adjusted life years). We designed a simple discrete choice experiment to see which of these health outcome metrics respondents in seven in seven low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in Africa, Asia, and Latin America) preferred. Respondents were interviewed in early 2022 and answered four “choice tasks” in which they had to choose which of three hypothetical COVID-19 patients should receive a hospital bed if only one bed was available. The hospital bed is described as having oxygen available, and respondents were told that all three patients were “almost certain” to die without an a hospital bed. The three patients differed in four ways: (a) age, (b) gender, (c) the presence or absence of an Alzheimer’s like disability and (d) the patient’s probability of survival if they received the ICU bed. YouGov implemented our survey using its web panels in Colombia, India, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Vietnam. To a first order approximation, our results provide compelling evidence that people want physcians to save lives. We also find, however, more subtle tradeoffs involving life years, tradeoffs involving the patients disabilities that are inconsistent with many Quality Adjusted Life Year estimates, and considerable heterogeneity with respect to the role of the patient’s gender across countries.
  • Economic Impact of Drug Policy: An Investment Management Approach. .....Steven Wegener, DEA
  • When evaluating the impact of drug policies, it is common to look at raw data, such as overdose death data, without adjusting for all the factors that could be impacting the raw data. One reason for this is that it is complicated, and there are many factors. To determine which factors are most important, we take an investment management approach, focusing on a primary driver of volatility, such as market risk. Investment managers commonly adjust their performance based on the risk of their portfolio. For drug policy, we believe a similar driver would be societal vice. We have created an initial measure of societal vice that does appear to be related to overdose death rates. We also have an applied example of drug policy that does appear related to overdose death rates. Combining that applied example with societal vice gives a richer picture of what may be driving overdose deaths. This better understanding can then help inform policy decisions.
  • COVID-19 vaccines: public vs private investments. .....Massimo Florio, CSIL
  • This study provides a mapping of funds contributed by different actors for the R&D and the expansion of the production capacity of COVID-19 vaccines, with a focus on those authorised in the EU. Nine vaccines are examined. It is found that governments, mainly the US (with some not-for-profit entities) decisively supported corporate investments, either for R&D, manufacturing, or both, by nearly EUR 9 billion, i.e. on average EUR one billion of grants per vaccine, with, however, vast variance across companies. Moreover, almost EUR 21 billion was allocated to companies through Advance Purchase Agreements. While the EU and MS support through Advance Purchase Agreements was key to de- risk the production of vaccines, the role of EU and MS support in directly supporting R&D was marginal compared with the US federal government. The study assesses the necessity for continuing public support to R&D on vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 future variants of concern and possibly other coronaviruses. After highlighting current market failures, new incentive mechanisms in the public interest for vaccine R&D are suggested to grant equity and accessibility, as well as rewards in line with risks.
10. Theory / Methods 2 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Monday | 2:15 pm-3:45 pm | GWU Student Center 302
  • Guidelines for economic analysis of water interventions: methods and challenges. .....Christian Borja-Vega, World Bank
  • The updated Water GP guidelines are broadly classified in two distinct chapter groups: 1) Methodological issues and 2) Evaluation for specific water problems or challenges. Part 1 of the guidelines includes the methodological issues chapters, and it is comprised of water projects that allow for a better explanation of the development of relevant methodological issues of incorporating climate uncertainties, nature based solutions and stakeholder analysis to assess project’s economic performance. Part 2 of the volume includes chapters with guidelines for evaluating specific water problems or challenges and includes water projects specific to these problems or challenges to illustrate how to best analyze and evaluate them, with case studies. This session will provide an overview of these guidelines and the roadmap ahead for further dissemination.
  • Downscaling U.S. Population and Economic Growth Projections: A Review and Recommendations. .....Jasmina Buresch, ICF; Jason Jones, ICF Incorporated; Matthew Hauer, Florida State University; Adrian Raftery, University of Washington; Kevin Rennert, Resources for the Future; Hana Sevcikova, University of Washington; David Wear, Resources for the Future; and Jordan Wingenroth, Resources for the Future
  • Population and economic growth projections are essential inputs for various applications in environmental and policy analysis. However, existing approaches to downscaling these projections to subnational levels have limitations, such as coarse spatial resolution, lack of demographic detail, or reliance on proprietary data. This paper reviews the literature on existing methodologies for downscaling population and economic projections, focusing on their strengths and weaknesses, data requirements, and applicability to the U.S. context. We identify five prominent methods for population downscaling: cohort-component models, gravity models, Bayesian hierarchical frameworks, cohort-change-ratio/cohort-change-difference models, and random growth network models. We also discuss two methods for economic downscaling: city growth models and neoclassical economic growth models. We compare these methods based on technical criteria, such as geographic granularity, demographic specificity, uncertainty quantification, and generalizability. Based on our review and comparison, we provide recommendations for producing subnational population and economic projections for different purposes and scenarios. We suggest three tiers of recommendations based on rapid deployment of existing methods, intermediate research investments to enhance current approaches, and long-term research investments in probabilistic methods based on demographic theory.
  • Do Agencies Consider Distribution and Equity in their Rules?. .....Mark Febrizio, George Washington University
  • Since 1993, Executive Order 12866 has required agencies not only to conduct analysis of the benefits and costs of “significant” regulatory actions but also to consider “distributive impacts and equity” in selecting among regulatory alternatives. How often, and in what manner, have agencies complied with this requirement? A growing literature on existing agency practices on distributional analysis of regulations generally finds that federal agencies do not fully account for the distribution of benefits and costs in their final rules. However, existing studies focus on a relatively small sample of rules, rather than capturing the broader frequency of how agencies consider distribution and equity, even if partially or informally. Establishing such a baseline of historical agency practice will lay a foundation for future assessments of the Biden administration’s initiative to reinvigorate distributional analysis. To fill this research gap, this paper uses text analysis tools to examine the regulatory preambles of significant final rules published in the Federal Register from 1994 to 2023. After developing quantitative estimates of the frequency with which agencies include distributional considerations in their analysis, the paper conducts descriptive and statistical analysis of the data and finds that while distributional analysis is relatively uncommon, it has become more common over time and differs considerably by agency. The paper also hopes to evaluate whether any changes in agency practice are evident after the issuance of Executive Order 14094 in April 2023.
11. Frontier Topics 1 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Monday | 2:15 pm-3:45 pm | GWU Student Center 307
  • Principal-agent problems in the purchase of household durables: Evidence from Nepal. .....Massimo Filippini, ETH Zurich; Nirmal Kumar Raut, Tribhuvan University; and Suchita Srinivasan, ETH Zurich
  • We investigate the existence of a principal-agent problem within households with respect to the purchase of a durable: parents (principals) often pay for the purchase of durables such as motorcycles that are used by their adult children (agents), who may have a preference for more expensive motorcycles and thus may not make affordable choices. We develop a theoretical framework based on a non-cooperative Nash game to model this interplay and show that ceteris paribus, the price of durables chosen is higher if parents contribute more towards its purchase. We test this hypothesis empirically using unique survey data from Kathmandu Valley, Nepal and find that university students purchased more expensive motorcycles when their parents paid more towards their purchase costs. Policy implications relate to the impact of these decisions on household finances, which can be large in developing countries because of the relatively high cost of durables with respect to average income, as well as possible spillovers on society: more expensive motorcycles tend to be less efficient, which has health-related and environmental repercussions. Key words: Principal-agent problems; Intra-household decision-making; Durable adoption; energy efficiency; Nepal
  • Rational Disagreement, Commensurability and the Scope of Benefit-Cost Analysis. .....Benjamin Watkins, Tulane University
  • If we accept the strong commensurability claims that are often made to support benefit-cost analysis (BCA) a decisive aggregation algorithm always exists for all public choices, under complete information conditions. Any notion of irreducible political disagreement that is both rational and informed is impossible, which seems implausible. Curiously, strong incommensurability assumptions and hybrid views (such as side-constraint theories) also preclude the possibility of rational debate. This paper presents a version of weak incommensurability under which rational and informed disagreement is possible. In this view, weak incommensurability arises when the values of two or more non-traded goods are uncertain, ambiguous or both. The conditions for weak incommensurability seem to be a plausible representation of BCA in practice, given the known limitations of the two predominant valuation methods. I show that if the conditions of disagreement under weak incommensurability hold, the analyst has Arrow dictatorial power over a contentious public choice, raising some troubling questions of the rightful limits of BCA in a democracy. Hopefully the paper adds some insight into the current debate of "whats in?" BCA and the closely related issue of how BCA fits into key legislative processes.
  • Leveraging Existing Data to Estimate the Effectiveness of a Regulatory Action. .....Megan Sheahan, Industrial Economics, Inc.; Webster Batista-Lin, Industrial Economics, Inc.; Jennifer Baxter, Industrial Economics, Inc.; Peter Madsen, BYU; and Robin Dillon-Merrill, Georgetown University
  • To quantify the benefits of their regulatory actions, Federal agencies require estimates of the effectiveness of their interventions at achieving desired outcomes. For regulations that target human safety, these estimates provide information about how an action reduces the risk of fatalities or injuries. While essential to an assessment of a regulation’s benefits, these data are often unavailable because agencies lack the information or resources needed to pursue such an analysis. This paper provides an example of how one agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, used existing data to estimate the effectiveness of regulatory changes under consideration. In particular, the Coast Guard wanted to evaluate how voluntary design and equipment standards for recreational boats reduce the likelihood and severity of boating accidents. By combining information on which boat models are built to industry standards, the analysis uses variation in accident, fatality, and injury rates across manufacturers to identify the effect. Because boating accident frequency and severity may differ across boat manufacturers for reasons not related to the voluntary standards, the analysis relies on a novel statistical technique call quasi-induced exposure, which employs the rate of involvement in non-relevant accidents to approximate exposure to risk. In our context, this involves identifying types of boating accidents that are unrelated to the voluntary standards as a set of “control” accidents. Preliminary results demonstrate that the existing voluntary standards reduce the risk of the type of boating accidents that the proposed regulatory standards seek to limit. Further, these boating accidents are less likely to result in a fatality when boats are built to the voluntary standards. Evidence on whether and to what extent the risk of non-fatal injuries is reduced by the voluntary standards is not as robust, although data on non-fatal injuries resulting from boating accidents is significantly limited by underreporting.
12. Valuation of Environmental Benefits* [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Monday | 2:15 pm-3:45 pm | GWU Student Center 309

Organizer: John Whitehead, Appalachian State University
Chair: John Whitehead, Appalachian State University
  • Reuse of Treated Municipal Wastewater in Drylands: A Multi-Sector Optimization Analysis. .....Oluwatosin Olofinsao, University of New Mexico; Jingjing Wang, University of New Mexico; and Robert Berrens, University of New Mexico
  • The increasing population and need for water in drylands, along with climate change, are exerting extra pressure on freshwater resources. The study develops a multi-sector optimization model at the regional level to explore the economic implications of treated municipal wastewater (TMW) reuse in drylands, using the Middle Rio Grande Basin (MRGB) in New Mexico as a case study. The study considers the agricultural sector as a nutrient sink and develops a theoretical optimization model of TMW reuse across urban, environmental, and agricultural sectors in drylands. Then, applied to the MRGB to identify the optimal allocation of TMW across the three sectors in the basin. A nonmarket evaluation technique is used to estimate the value of water in each sector and these estimates are used as inputs to our multi-sector optimization model. Results show that the environmental sector has the highest marginal economic value of water at $1,625/AF, followed by the urban sector at $209/AF and the agricultural sector at $32.08/AF. This recommends that in the study area, higher priority should be given to the maintenance and protection of the environmental sector, followed by the urban sector and then the agricultural sector. Though the agricultural sector is a nutrient sink and TMW provides more non-market value to the sector, the value of water in the sector is very low as compared to other sectors. The study underscores that obtaining information on the economic value of water in different sectors across a region is critical for the optimal allocation of scarce water resources in the region.
  • A global spatial meta-regression analysis of mangrove valuation studies. .....Giovanni Signorello, University of Catania; Laura Giuffrida, University of Catania; Maria De Salvo, University of Messina; and Luke M. Brander, VU University Amsterdam
  • Ecosystem service value data potentially contain multiple spatial processes that need to be accounted for to understand and predict variation across study sites. In this paper we specify and test several meta-regression models that take into account spatial autocorrelation lags, and use alternative weight matrices representing the neighbor relationships among the study sites. We also validate models’ predictive power using both in-sample and out-of-sample procedures. Findings reveal that the best performance is provided by the Spatial Durbin Error Model which assumes a significant spatial process affects the predictors and the error term. This model performs particularly well when spatial correlation is accounted for through the biological distance among sites.
  • The Welfare Effects of Air Pollution on Outdoor Recreation: An Application to Shoreline Fishing Along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. .....Roger von Haefen, North Carolina State University; and Yiqing Liu, North Carolina State University
  • Driven by tighter federal PM2.5 standards as well cleaner fuel requirements for maritime shipping, the past two decades have seen dramatic improvements in air quality in coastal areas throughout the United States. However, the implications of these improvements for outdoor recreation, a large and growing sector of many coastal economies, remain poorly understood. Leveraging one of the largest outdoor recreation data sets ever assemble, we investigate how changes in air pollution along the East and Gulf Coasts impact shoreline recreational fishing from 2004 and 2018. Using a linked model of angler participation and site choice, our findings suggest a robustly negative and statistically significant relationship between PM2.5 and shoreline recreational fishing. These estimates translate into relatively large welfare gains from the improvements in air pollution experienced in recent years. Further, our results reveal substantial spatial heterogeneity across the U.S., with anglers in the Southeast and New England/Mid-Atlantic regions deriving the highest economic values. Sensitivity analyses demonstrate our estimates at the baseline level are robust to changes in income effects, nonlinear air pollution effects, and alternative distributional assumptions.
  • Model Choice, Hypothetical Bias, and Risk Aversion. .....Gregory Howard, East Carolina University; Jerrod Penn, Louisiana State University; and Wuyang Hu, Ohio State University
  • Hypothetical bias (HB) is prevalent in stated-preference studies. We demonstrate that standard discrete choice models may overstate HB through model misspecification driven by variation in risk aversion in hypothetical versus incentivized choices. Using a discrete choice experiment involving both hypothetical and incentivized choices, we find trends that match our theoretical predictions and show that accounting for potential risk aversion reduces estimated HB. Our findings suggest, in addition to incentive compatibility in stated-preference survey design, using more flexible functional forms to accommodate possible curvature in utility functions may also be useful to accurately account for HB.
13. Benefit-Cost Analysis and the Courts* [Roundtable/Panel]
Monday | 2:15 pm-3:45 pm | GWU Amphitheater

Organizer: Caroline Cecot, George Mason University
Chair: Caroline Cecot, George Mason University

  • Jonathan Wiener, Duke University;
  • Elissa Gentry, Florida State University;
14. Circular A-4: Peer Reviewers Panel* [Roundtable/Panel]
Monday | 4:00 pm-5:30 pm | GWU Amphitheater

Chair: Jennifer Baxter, Industrial Economics, Inc.

  • Kip Viscusi, Vanderbilt University;
  • Billy Pizer, Resources for the Future;
  • Scott Farrow, University of Maryland, Baltimore County;
  • Joseph Cordes, George Washington University;
  • Glenn Blomquist, University of Kentucky;
15. Networking Reception [Plenary]
Monday | 6:00 pm-7:30 pm | TBA
16. From Food Safety to Proper Labeling: BCAs in support of FSIS regulations [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Tuesday | 8:30 am-10:00 am | GWU Student Center 301

Organizer: Flora Tsui, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
Chair: Flora Tsui, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

  • Andrew Pugliese, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service;
  • Sarah Milchman, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service;
  • Stephanie Despero, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service;
  • Linda Abbott, U.S. Department of Agriculture;
17. Transportation [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Tuesday | 8:30 am-10:00 am | GWU Student Center 302
  • Health and climate benefits of electric school bus adoption in the United States. .....Ernani Choma, Harvard University; Lisa Robinson, Harvard University; and Kari Nadeau, Harvard University
  • Electric school buses could reduce climate and health impacts of current diesel school buses and are being considered by the EPA, but their lifetime costs are $160k higher than new diesel buses [1]. Health and climate benefits of electric school buses are not well known and needed to inform policy decisions. We estimate those benefits for buses driving in each U.S. county, accounting for adult mortality and childhood asthma onset risks due to chronic exposure to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Our approach combines (i) primary PM2.5 and precursor gas emissions from EPA’s National Emissions Inventory and eGRID; (ii) an air pollution model linking emissions to population exposure to PM2.5; (iii) concentration-response functions from epidemiologic studies linking ambient PM2.5 to adult mortality and childhood asthma onset risks; (iv) baseline incidence rates; and (v) willingness to pay measures reflecting the economic value of risk reductions. We find that replacing the average diesel school bus in the U.S. fleet in 2017 with an electric school bus yields $80,700 in benefits. Climate benefits are $36,900/bus, whereas health benefits are $43,800/bus due to 3.63*10-3 fewer PM2.5-attributable deaths (valued at $40,000) and 6.10*10-3 fewer PM2.5-attributable new childhood asthma cases (valued at $3,700). Health benefits of electric buses vary substantially by location and model year of the diesel buses they replace. Replacing miles driven by old model year 2005 diesel buses in large cities yields $207,200/bus in health benefits and is likely cost-beneficial, although other policies that accelerate fleet turnover in these areas deserve consideration. Electric buses in rural areas achieve small health benefits from reduced exposure to ambient PM2.5. Further research assessing benefits of reduced exposure to in-cabin air pollution among children would be valuable to inform policy. [1] Curran, A. All About Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for Electric School buses. (Accessed 09/07/23).
  • Coaches vs trains in the provision of regional mobility services: the case of France. .....Philippe Poinsot, university of gustave eiffel; and Nicolas COulombel, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech
  • Although France has one of the largest railway networks in Europe, the usage of this network is very heterogeneous. The French national railways company, the SNCF, has until recently benefitted from a quasi-monopolistic power by operating most of the network. However, complying with the European guidelines, the French government has gradually opened domestic rail passenger travel to competition. French regions are seizing this opportunity to challenge the SNCF with other operators, and to question the relevance of rail services for small passenger lines. In periurban and rural areas, where most of these lines are located, private cars are the preferred mode of travel. Coach services could therefore provide a more affordable alternative to train services. This work investigates the relevance of several alternative scenarios for the provision of regional passenger mobility, which vary according to the mode used – either train or coach – and the level of service frequency. The scenarios are evaluated using a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) evaluation framework. Relatively to the existing literature on the topic (see Tirachini et al., 2010 for a review), our evaluation framework includes a very detailed cost structure for train services. This allows us to take into account economies of scale related to infrastructure costs but also operating costs when improving service frequency, with a level of detail not present in previous studies. The methodology is applied to 8 railway lines in the Région Sud Provence Alpes Côtes d’Azur in French. Four scenarios are considered: 1) a “status quo” scenario with the current rail service, 2) a “coach” scenario where the service is operated by coaches instead of trains, 3) an “improved train” scenario with improved service frequency and finally 4) an “improved coach” scenario which mimics scenario 3) but again using coaches instead of trains.
  • INCLUDING LIFE-CYCLE ASSESSMENT RESULTS INTO THE COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS: THE CASE OF THE HIGH-SPEED RAIL NETWORK IN SPAIN (AVE). .....Francisco Javier Amador Morera, University of La Laguna; Andoni Kortazar, University of the Basque Country; Gorka Bueno, University of the Basque Country; and David Hoyos, University of the Basque Country
  • The life-cycle assessment (LCA) methodology has highlighted the importance of considering the indirect environmental impacts of transport infrastructures. However, these impacts, in general, are not incorporated in the cost-benefit analysis (CBA). This paper evaluates the impact on social profitability indicators when LCA is combined with CBA to include the monetary value of externalities originated by indirect environmental impacts caused in the construction and maintenance phases of the high-speed rail infrastructure, in addition to those originated in the operation of the trains and other modes that suffer changes in their traffic level. The suggested approach is applied to the Spanish high-speed rail network (AVE) complementing the CBA carried out by AIReF. The methodology followed consists of three stages. In the first stage, information regarding indirect environmental impacts of infrastructure and vehicles (CO2eq, NOx, NH3, NMVOC, PM10 and SO2) is extracted from Ecoinvent v3.8 for all modes, except for high-speed rail which are obtained from Tuchschmid et al. (2011). In the second stage, the conversion of environmental impacts into monetary terms is carried out using values suggested by the European Commission (2020). Finally, the monetized impacts are included in the CBA, the net present values (NPV) are calculated and compared with the values obtained by AIReF without taking into account the indirect environmental impacts derived from a cradle-to-grave approach. The results show that the inclusion of environmental impacts produced throughout the life-cycle of the different project components can significantly affect the project's social profitability indicators (NPV). As a conclusion, in a context of necessary energy transition, combining methodologies such as LCA with CBA not only seems necessary, but becomes an indispensable requirement to guarantee the environmental feasibility of the project, since a CBA with positive social profitability (NPV>0) can hide environmental balances incompatible with the EU’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Congestion charges and housing decision. .....Henrik Andersson, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute; and Erik Nyberg, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute
  • Two ways to mitigate the public's resistant to the implementation of congestion charges is to earmark the collected charges for local projects, like reinvestments in local transportation projects, and to inform the public than in addition to addressing traffic congestion the charges will also have positive local environmental effects. In this study we examine individuals' preferences for local air-quality and noise in housing decisions, together with preferences and attitudes related to congestion charges. We use data from a survey conducted in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, a city that implemented congestion charges in 2013. The survey consist of questions about actual decision about housing decisions, a discrete choice experiment focusing on environmental attributes, questions about travel behavior, and experiences, attitudes, and views about the congestion charges that were implemented in Gothenburg. Data are being analyzed, hence results are preliminary, but the findings will in addition to the stand alone results on respondents' WTP for reducing health risks related to air pollution and quiet, etc., also provide important insights for the observed effects on the property markets after the introduction of the congestion charges. Contrary to expectations the congestion charges had a negative and significant effect on the prices of the properties located within the congestion (cordon) zone.
18. Environment 1 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Tuesday | 8:30 am-10:00 am | GWU Student Center 307
  • Applying NAMs to Estimate the Benefits of the Proposed Drinking Water Standard. .....Jonathan Gledhill, Policy Navigation Group; Javier Perez, Policy Navigation Group; Evan Gendreau, Policy Navigation Group; and Young-Jun Kweon, Policy Navigation Group
  • New assessment methods (NAMs) in toxicology offer data to overcome some of the major limitations of social benefit analysis. Benefit-cost analysis of health and safety policies often is hobbled by the inability to characterize the probability of adverse human health effects and to estimate the potential benefits of many health effects from chemical exposure. Even with the charge from the National Academy of Sciences in Science and Decisions over 15 years ago, current applied benefit-cost analysis often remains stuck in cancer/non-cancer, deterministic methodological ruts. By combining in vitro and in vivo data into probabilistic dose-response functions and screening a wide range of biological mechanisms, NAMs can produce probabilistic, continuous dose-response functions that can fit into utility maximization functions. NAMs can also use cells and genes that represent larger swaths of the U.S. population than traditional toxicology data sources such as epidemiological and animal studies. While much work is needed to understand the probabilistic path from NAM results to actual clinical disease, NAM data today can be integrated into benefit-cost analysis to set bounds on possible social benefits and uncertainties. We apply recent NAM studies to the proposed federal drinking water standard for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). In the rulemaking, EPA found that PFOS drinking water exposure is associated with numerous non-cancer effects and cancer types. However, in its regulatory analysis, EPA only quantifies the incremental social benefits of the proposed standard for reducing the risk of two noncancer health effects and one co-benefit of the proposed water treatment. By applying NAM studies, we created a bounding estimate of the social benefits of the proposed drinking water standard by including the benefits from reducing the risk of 108 potential cancer and noncancer adverse effects. The bounding estimate of social benefits is much lower than the estimated annualized drinking water treatment costs.
  • Integration of Pumped Storage with Renewable Generation Technologies: Economic Challenges and Stakeholder Impacts. .....Glenn Jenkins, Queens University, Canada
  • This article explores the financial, economic feasibility of a proposed pumped hydro storage (PHS) facility in Ontario, Canada and compares its cost with that of alternative gas power plants. The objective of this facility is to use the projected 20 year surplus generation in the off-peak periods to charge the (PHS) so that it can generate electricity during the peak demand periods of the day. Much of this surplus has been created by the rapid expansion of generation by wind farms. The analysis is carried out in a multidimensional way that quantifies the impacts on the interests of the private investors, the total economy, and the various stakeholders, including the consumers of electricity, the provincial and federal government budgets. The estimated costs of greenhouse gas emissions are quantified from the perspective of Canada, the USA, and globally. Given the capital costs of building the proposed PHS in Ontario, the conclusions of this study suggest that a PHS facility of the cost being proposed is not economically cost-effective for utilizing the projected off-peak surpluses. The present value of the economic losses would amount to at least US$700 million over 20 years. The cost of building a PHS is highly site specific. In order to avoid such economic losses, the cost of building the facility would have to be reduced by at least 30 percent. If built the loss from the proposed plant will be borne mainly by the electricity consumers of Ontario. Even taking into consideration the cost of CO2 emissions from a world perspective, this investment is not cost-effective. It would be much better socially from a world perspective and economically from Canada's perspective, if the surplus baseload electricity from Ontario were given away free to the USA. The US with its substantial natural gas fired thermal plants could use the surplus generation from Ontario to reduce generation by natural gas plants in the USA, hence reducing CO2 emissions globally, without any incremental economic cost to Canada Furthermore, this option would give a benefit to USA electricity consumers of approximately US$ 400 million.
  • Impacts of COVID-19 containment policies on air pollution and exposure disparities in Canada. .....Tsegaye Ginbo, University of Alberta; Liyuan Xuan, University of Alberta; Patrick Lloyd-Smith, University of Saskatchewan; and Vic Adamowicz, University of Alberta
  • We study whether the stringency of COVID-19 containment policies affects air pollution and exposure disparities among social groups in Canada. To do so, we use daily air pollution data from the National Air Pollution Surveillance program and the COVID-19 policy stringency index from Oxford University’s COVID-19 Government Response Tracker. Our empirical analyses combine difference-in-differences and instrumental variables approaches to identify the causal effects of Canadian COVID-19 policy stringency on air pollution. We also estimate the monetary value of a change in policy stringency using the Air Quality Benefits Assessment tool and measure the value of mortality and morbidity risk reduction. We find that more stringent COVID-19 policies in 2020 reduced seven air pollutant levels (PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, PM10, NOX, and NO), but increased O3. The disproportionate exposure of the Indigenous population to NO2, CO, and NO air pollution remained despite the general reduction in air pollution during the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, the COVID-19 containment and closure policies did not reduce seniors’ and low-income groups’ exposure to SO2, and visible minorities’ exposure to PM2.5 air pollution. Furthermore, a 10% increase in policy stringency would have resulted in air quality improvements valued at approximately $7 billion for 2022. The findings suggest that policies restricting human activities can improve environmental quality, and valuation of these measures can be used to inform policy, but the elimination of air pollution exposure gaps may require more targeted interventions to tackle the underlying factors for such disparities.
  • Adaptation to Flood Risk in the U.S. Housing Markets. .....Okmyung Bin, East Carolina University
  • Flooding is the costliest and most common natural disaster in the U.S. Adaptation is considered an appropriate response to increasing flood risks. The response decisions and actions of households may be influenced by various factors, but the effects of individual factors are not adequately understood. We utilize logistic regressions to study the elements that influence the choice of adaptation decisions to flood risks. Using cross-sectional data collected from 1,206 households in U.S., we undertake the analysis at two levels: a pooled sample analysis and a disaggregated analysis between buyers and sellers. Our results suggest that the adaptation decisions to flood risks may be influenced less by material and financial considerations than by the perceived effectiveness of protective measures and concerns about the flood damage. Furthermore, the factors that influence the adaptation decisions vary considerably between buyers and sellers on the housing markets.
19. Frontiers of Benefit-Cost Analysis: Federal Priorities for Future Research* [Roundtable/Panel]
Tuesday | 8:30 am-10:00 am | GWU Amphitheater

Organizer: Jeffrey Shrader, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
Chair: Jeffrey Shrader, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

  • Agency Representative, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA);
  • Agency Representative, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP);
  • Agency Representative, Council of Economic Advisors;
  • Agency Representative, Council of Economic Advisors;
  • Agency Representative, Council of Economic Advisors;
20. Applying CBA in International Development: Experience at World Vision Canada* [Innovative Session]
Tuesday | 8:30 am-10:00 am | GWU Student Center 309

Organizers: Rachel Bahn, Limestone-Analytics; Monique Strassburger, World Vision Canada; Christopher Cotton, Queen's University; Zachary Robb, Limestone Analytics; Kyra Safar, Limestone Analytics;
Chair: Bahman Kashi, Limestone Analytics
21. Global Perspectives [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Tuesday | 10:15 am-11:45 am | GWU Student Center 301
  • How to promote REDD+ in Africa: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Tanzanian Projects. .....Mi Rang GANG, Seoul National University
  • REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) plays a crucial role in combating climate change by creating carbon sinks through forests, While numerous REDD+ projects are active worldwide, mainly in Southeast Asia and Latin America, Africa faces challenges because civil conflicts and political instability pose significant risks to the implementation of REDD+ projects in Africa, where deforestation is driven by livelihoods and economic development needs. REDD+ projects have the potential to generate economic value and foster environmental and social development through forest conservation, making them essential for African nations. To promote these projects in Africa, a comprehensive economic assessment that includes non-cash values is crucial. This study evaluates the economic efficiency of four REDD+ pilot projects in Tanzania using a Cost-Benefit Analysis and proposes strategies for promoting REDD+ initiatives in Africa based on the findings. The study defines cost components of REDD+ as implementation, transaction, and institutional costs, while benefit components include cash values like carbon credit revenue and non-cash values such as biodiversity conservation, water resource preservation, and cultural heritage. Sensitivity analysis takes into account fluctuations in carbon credit prices and discount rates, which impact long-term cash flows. The research demonstrates that, when evaluated solely on the basis of their cash values, none of the projects under consideration appear to be economically feasible. However, when non-cash values are factored into the analysis, three of these projects emerge as economically viable options. To enhance the economic attractiveness of REDD+ in Africa, additional strategies are needed. These include institutional strategies that offer extra payments for REDD+ credits to incentivize tropical forest conservation, significantly impacting global climate change. Furthermore, methodological strategies should be developed to create alternative income sources, such as agroforestry, for participating households.
  • Factors influencing consumer’s preference for tobacco harm reduction products in low-income economies: Evidence from DCE in Nepal. .....Trilochan Pokharel, Nepal Administrative Staff College
  • Tobacco use remains a significant global public health concern, contributing to a wide range of preventable diseases and premature deaths. In recent years, tobacco consumption has been influenced by the introduction of tobacco harm reduction (THR) products. Nepal, being situated between world’s two large and fast-growing economies, China and India, represents unique market dynamics in the South Asia. Our recent market assessment has shown that there is growing demand of THR products in South Asia including Nepal. Given the context, we conducted a discrete choice experiment (DCE) among 1357 current smokers from Nepal to understand demand-side drivers of the combustible cigarettes and vape/e-cigarettes. From a combination of four attributes- a) price, b) flavor, c) presence of graphic health warning and d) enforcement of ban for smoking in the public places – and different levels for each attribute, a total of choice 30 sets, divided into three blocks, were produced for administration. For each choice set, respondents were asked to evaluate the options and choose either a) combustible cigarettes or b) vape/e-cigarettes, or c) neither. Using conditional logit for the total observations of 13570, we find that consumers respond negatively to price (-0.053, p<0.001) and strict enforcement of ban on smoking in public places (-0.201, p<0.001) for choice of combustible cigarettes. We also find that pictorial health warnings (-0.417, p<0.001) yield disutility among smokers for combustible cigarettes. Additionally, those who reported that they want to quit smoking also responded negatively (-0.604, p<0.001) to combustible cigarettes and positively (0.476, p<0.001) to those who have used vape/e-cigarette. The empirical results inform the benefit-cost analysis of alternative tobacco regulatory approached.
  • Water-Energy-Food use in times of COVID-19 pandemic in seven developing countries. .....Franklin Amuakwa-Mensah, Luleå University of Technology; Alejandro Lopez-Feldman, University of Gothenburg; Thomas Sterner, University of Gothenburg; Gunnar Köhlin, University of Gothenburg; Dale Whittington, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Richard Carson, University of California, Berkeley; Michael Hanemann, Arizona State University; Francisco Alpizar, Wageningen University; and Vic Adamowicz, University of Alberta
  • In an attempt to curtail the spread of COVID-19 both containment and mitigation strategies were instituted by governments around the world. These policy actions, such as social distancing, lockdowns, and improved personal hygiene, had varying health, economic and social effects on individuals and households. Existing studies have mostly considered either subjective exposure or have focused only one of the outcomes that we study (that is, water, energy and food). Furthermore, the potential endogeneity associated with COVID-19 risk exposure has not been adequately addressed in the literature. Thus, this study uses an extended ordered probit model with an endogenous covariate to investigate the impact of both subjective (thought of exposure) and objective COVID-19 risk exposure ( tested positive and sick) on water, energy, and food usage. Using YouGov’s internet panels, we designed a survey for around 8000 respondents from seven low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in early 2022. Respondents were asked to indicate if their household used more, same, or less amounts of water, food, and energy since the COVID-19 pandemic began. For the case of energy, we consider three different types: electricity, traditional fuel for cooking and heating (eg. wood, charcoal), and modern fuels for cooking and heating (eg. bottled gas). We use cumulative COVID-19 cases at the administrative area level and the percentage of cases at the administrative area level relative to the national total as instruments for COVID-19 risk exposure. Our identification assumption is that conditional on socio-economic factors and country fixed effect, our instruments correlate with individual’s COVID-19 risk exposure but are orthogonal to water, energy, and food usage. Our results show that subjective COVID-19 risk exposure (thought of exposure) has a positive effect on the use of electricity, modern fuels for cooking and heating, and water. In the case of objective COVID-19 risk exposure, we find that testing positive and being sick from COVID-19 increases electricity usage and modern fuels for cooking and heating usage, but decreases the use of traditional fuel for cooking and heating. Moreover, testing positive from COVID-19 increases food usage by households. We further explore the mechanisms that might be behind these effects as well as the coping strategies employed by households to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
22. Energy / Environment 1 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Tuesday | 10:15 am-11:45 am | GWU Student Center 307
  • CBA Role and Limits at the Nexus Between Decarbonization and Indigenous Self-Determination. .....David Wright, University of Calgary
  • The stage is set for intensifying tension between governments and Indigenous nations as agencies pursue ambitious net-zero emissions agendas. Governments are looking to expedite the review and approval processes for major green infrastructure projects, yet at the same time these governments have legal obligations with respect to Indigenous peoples and Indigenous communities themselves are pursuing self-determination. Potential for such tension is particularly heightened in contexts where the rights of Indigenous peoples may be adversely affected by such projects. Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) is a key tool for exposing and potentially resolving friction in this complex law and policy terrain. However, the rights of Indigenous peoples and notions of Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination represent a long standing challenge for CBA. This presentation and associated research (funded research project description available) focuses in particular on the role of CBA in regulatory review and approval of major natural resources and clean infrastructure projects required to achieve net-zero emissions. In doing so, it will draw on examples from the United States and Canadian contexts, with particular attention to the rights and interests of Indigenous communities. This includes relevant regulatory frameworks and recent decisions (e.g. under the US National Environmental Policy Act, and under the Canadian federal Impact Assessment Act) in which CBA has been used inconsistently as a basis for analysis and decision-making, leading to poor transparency and decreasing public – and Indigenous – confidence in the system. The presentation will include discussion of the roles, limits, and potential evolution of CBA in a context where changes in law and practice are moving toward Indigenous consent as the legal standard, as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. [Thank you for considering this topic. I'll hope to see you in March -DVW]
  • Closing the Energy Gap: How to Optimize Efficient Energy Savings using Proven Economic Methods. .....Heidi King, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
  • This paper identifies opportunities to optimize execution of energy efficiency policies to provide the greatest benefit to society by using an appropriately complete benefit-cost analysis that allows decision-makers to assess alternative strategies toward accomplishing the policy goal. Such analyses have been required in the development of federal regulations in the Unites States for several decades, and yet there remain gaps in execution of the analyses for energy efficiency policies that hinder adoption of superior regulatory approaches. The author outlines benefit-cost analysis the best practices frequently employed in the assessment of regulations by federal agencies responsible for environmental standard-setting and public safety and considers the implications of extending such best practices to energy efficiency regulations. An assessment of accomplishments to date in the analysis of energy efficiency regulations, the unique characteristics of energy efficiency regulatory analyses, and remaining gaps will be discussed, including social, environmental, and public safety factors in the standard-setting analyses. In conclusion, the author will describe the risks to the public associated with relying on incomplete or biased benefit-cost analyses and suggest mechanisms to support high quality analysis that are adequate to support optimal decision-making.
  • The EPA Should Require LBP Inspection at the Time of Real Estate Transfer. .....Matthew LaPenta, ABT Associates; and Lauren Masatsugu, ABT Associates
  • The EPA has recently taken action to make their dust-lead hazard standards and clearance levels more stringent and is likely to take further action by modifying their definition of lead-based paint (LBP) to include paint with lower lead concentrations. However, the benefits of more stringent standards are only realized when someone checks to see if any hazards are present. Currently there are too few incentives or requirements to inspect for LBP hazards, so EPA should ensure the relevance of their more stringent standards with a real estate transfer LBP inspection requirement. This would make prospective tenants and homeowners aware of any LBP and LBP hazards and create incentives to address them in order to attract buyers or renters. A requirement for LBP inspection at the time of real estate transfer would also greatly improve the effectiveness of the EPA’s Lead, Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Program. Current requirements rely on using LBP test-kits with high false positive rates. The high rate of false positives means that contractors who use these kits must use costly lead-safe work practices for many jobs where there is no benefit from doing so. Compliance for contractors would be much easier in homes that have had a LBP inspection, which would eliminate the need for using the test kits and eliminate the instances where lead-safe work practices would be needed because of a false positive. LBP inspections would likely further reduce the need to use lead-safe work practices by creating an incentive to abate LBP where it exists. In this presentation we will compare the estimated costs of compliance with the RRP program using test kits from EPA’s economic analysis with the compliance costs under the policy scenario where LBP inspections are conducted at the time of real estate transfer.
  • Pricing Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Why the Target-Consistent Approach is Appropriate. .....Kerry Krutilla, Indiana University
  • Target-consistent greenhouse gas prices are used to implement emission restrictions. Using these prices is consistent with the normative view that political mechanisms are appropriate for making judgements about intergenerational tradeoffs and climate risks, with prices used to steer policy implementation. Target consistent prices are operationalized in benefit-cost analysis in the form of debits/credits that account for the economic value of increased/decreased emissions with respect to compromising/facilitating the attainment of the target. If there is a tradable permit market for greenhouse gas emissions, permit prices can serve as the basis for target-consistent prices. The European emissions trading system is expected to become the basis for carbon pricing for countries like the UK and France that have adopted the target consistent approach for pricing greenhouse gas emissions. The social cost of greenhouse gases is equal to the implicit Pigouvian tax necessary to internalize climate damages along an optimal trajectory. The U.S., Canada, and Germany use this approach to pricing greenhouse gas emissions. The normative perspective is that decision-makers should use an economic balancing test to find an economically efficient level of emissions control and an economically efficient level of climate damages. This article conducts a systematic literature review of methods for estimating the social cost of greenhouse gases. In a world of fundamental uncertainty, heterogenous preferences and technology, market imperfections, and dynamic complexity, the computational challenges are daunting. The normative motivation for the social cost of greenhouse gases is also out of sync with the prevailing policy paradigm to establish emissions targets, reflected in the Paris Climate Agreement and the net-zero carbon emissions goals of many countries. In view of these limitations, the article concludes that the target-consistent approach is the feasible and normatively justified method for pricing greenhouse gas emissions.
23. MCC CBA Sector Guidance: Informing Project Design and Capturing Lessons Learned* [Roundtable/Panel]
Tuesday | 10:15 am-11:45 am | GWU Amphitheater

Organizer: Sarah Bishop, Millennium Challenge Corporation
Chair: Sarah Bishop, Millennium Challenge Corporation

  • Sarah Bishop, Millennium Challenge Corporation;
  • Aaron Szott, Millennium Challenge Corporation;
  • Derick Bowen, Millennium Challenge Corporation;
  • Sarah Bishop, Millennium Challenge Corporation;
24. Flood risks and risk reduction programs in Canada and the U.S.: Benefits, costs, and distributional effects. [Roundtable/Panel]
Tuesday | 10:15 am-11:45 am | GWU Student Center 302

Organizer: Dianne Dupont, Brock University
Chair: Dianne Dupont, Brock University

  • Dianne Dupont, Brock University;
  • James Price, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee;
  • Sebastien Box-Couillard, University of Illinois;
  • Vic Adamowicz, University of Alberta;
25. Distribution Analysis in Action* [Roundtable/Panel]
Tuesday | 10:15 am-11:45 am | GWU Student Center 309

Organizer: Dan Acland, University of California at Berkeley
Chair: Lisa Robinson, Harvard University

  • Scott Farrow, University of Maryland, Baltimore County;
  • Samantha Yi, New York University;
  • Jeffrey Shrader, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs;
  • Dan Acland, University of California at Berkeley;
26. Stephane Straub: The Private and Social Rate of Return of Infrastructure Projects* [Plenary]
Tuesday | 12:00 pm-1:30 pm | GWU Grand Ballroom
27. Frontier Topics 2 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Tuesday | 1:45 pm-3:15 pm | GWU Student Center 301
  • Cost Benefit Analysis of a Proactive Preventive Service for Mitigation of Domestic Violence. .....Sandya Venugopal, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • The Problem: One in three women, or 30%, have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime (World Health Organization, 2018). Less than 40% cases are reported, and less than 10% of those to the police. Domestic Violence (DV) or Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a pattern, with many repeat offenders (73%). In the U.S., 20 people per minute suffer DV/IPV. In the U.K., one case every minute is reported to the police (United Nations Development Programme, 2020). In the sudden lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a 20% increase in domestic violence globally. In 2020 alone, over 243 million women experienced some form of domestic violence worldwide. Calls to helplines increased 3-5-fold in the COVID-19 pandemic times. This escalation was dubbed the Shadow Pandemic (United Nations Women, 2020). Why it matters: Violence against half the world’s population is a universal matter of human rights, and a public health crisis. It also has far-reaching impact on the victims, their families, the communities, and the society. The global cost of violence against women and girls (public, private, and social) is estimated at approximately 2% of global gross domestic product (GDP), or US$ 1.5 trillion (United Nations Women, 2016). Proposed Solution: EVA™, an Escape Violence Aid, will help expand preventive services through a multi-pronged approach that helps educate (mainly) girls and women on what constitutes a healthy relationship. An online portal, and involvement of the local community, will help promote proactive measures so that girls and women feel empowered to recognize the signs and escape potentially abusive situations before they escalate into a vicious cycle. A combined top-down and bottoms-up strategic approach will help tackle this complex matter. A lean start-up costs together with easy global scalability demonstrated by the cost-benefit analysis of the proposal shows it has a positive net benefit.
  • Less is More: Why NFTs Don’t Need a New Regulatory Regime. .....Yuliya Guseva, Rutgers University
  • Fifteen years after the Bitcoin blockchain launched, we are still mired in debates over digital assets and the agencies that should take the lead in regulating them. Multiple regulators bring cases involving the same firms and assets, and Congress continues to introduce one crypto bill after another. One digital asset perfectly captures the inefficiencies of this race to regulate and reform – non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”). Recently, the Congressional Research Service and congressional bills proposed massive studies on NFTs. Those efforts reflect the considerable resources that are being expended on an issue that, as I demonstrate in this essay, can be easily resolved without wasteful reform. Economic analysis provides us with the tools to avoid superfluous reforms on NFTs and resolve the challenges to the regulatory jurisdiction of major agencies. Relying on insights from economics, property law theory, and securities law, this essay argues that NFTs are not an independent asset class; they are assets accompanying various anchor assets across industries and markets. For example, if the anchor asset is digital baseball cards, the laws applied to transactions in collectibles should be relevant; if the anchor is securities, the NFTs should fall under securities regulation. Each of the underlying anchor markets would have a different regulatory regime. A quest for the regulation of NFTs should be a search for these anchor markets and laws. The essay explains that the groundwork for this regulatory approach has already been laid. There is no need to spend regulatory resources on designing an unnecessary (ergo, wasteful) reform of NFTs qua NFTs. This is a case where less is more.
  • Equity Issues in Food Safety Policy: A Distributional Analysis of Foodborne Illness Burden. .....Ioana (Julia) Marasteanu, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and Janet M. Gemmill, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • The objective of this research is to identify systemic differences between the monetary burden of foodborne illness across different demographic subpopulations and examine which, if any, underlying socio-economic factors may explain those differences. To our knowledge, existing literature does not examine the monetary burden of foodborne illness by demographic subpopulations. We use data provided by CDC’s FoodNet Steering Committee, which contain patient-level information on race, age, gender, geographic location, foodborne pathogen, and illness severity and outcome, as well as publicly available county-level Census data for educational attainment, access to health insurance, income, and other socioeconomic factors. Foodborne illness costs are estimated by pathogen and illness severity via an internal model based on Minor et al. (2015). We first calculate the foodborne illness cost burden for each observation in the FoodNet data, and then test for statistically significant differences in these cost burdens between various demographic subgroups. Finally, we examine whether socioeconomic factors, such as access to health insurance, income, etc., drive these differences. Preliminary findings suggest that males, those who are 65 years and older, those who identify as Black, and those who identify as American Indian and Alaskan Native incur significantly higher foodborne illness cost burdens than other demographic subgroups. The results for those who are 65 years and older hold even when accounting for interactions with race and gender. Our research provides for a more comprehensive understanding of how and why the cost of foodborne illness varies by demographic subpopulations and can be used to inform cost-benefit analyses of FDA food safety regulations and public health policy more broadly.
28. Environment / Health 1 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Tuesday | 1:45 pm-3:15 pm | GWU Student Center 302
  • Forest Mitigates Short-Term Health Risk of Air Pollution: Evidence from China. .....Yuanyuan Yi, Peking University; Shilei Liu, Renmin University; Jinlei Qi, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Jintao Xu, Peking University; Peng Yin, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention; and Maigeng Zhou, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • This study assembles satellite data, individual-level death records, and air quality data to estimate forest greenness impact on air pollution and health outcomes in China. We find that forest greenness improves air quality. A 10 percentage-points increase in the seasonal average normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is estimated to increase the overall air quality index (AQI) by 2.6 (3.8% from its mean of 70.8). This NDVI increase predicts decreases in seasonal cardiorespiratory deaths by 1.09% (9.5 people), and in non-cardiorespiratory deaths by 0.87% (7.3 people), ceteris paribus. Also, forest has a mitigating effect of reducing the mortality risk of air pollution as we find that an additional greenness of 10-percentage-point increase in NDVI contributes to a reduction in cardiorespiratory deaths by 0.04% at the mean level of air pollution. The elderly and especially the elderly males are more likely to benefit from the mitigation by forest greenness conditional on that they are more frequently exposed to air pollution and the greenness. A back-of-the-envelope calculation indicates that doubling the greenness of forest would bring about a health benefit that is far beyond an order of magnitude larger than the cost of forest conservation efforts.
  • Characterizing and Quantifying the Benefits of GOES-R Observations. .....Jeffrey Lazo, Jeffrey K Lazo Consulting LLC; David Lubar, The Aerospace Corporation; and Mike “Jammer” Jamilkowski, The Aerospace Corporation
  • Environmental satellites represent one of the largest investments within the NOAA budget. We discuss a socioeconomic benefits assessment of the GOES-R program to determine whether the benefits of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites—R Series (GOES-R) attributable products and services are greater than the overall lifecycle costs of the GOES-R program. We first discuss Phase 1 efforts to demonstrate a process for quantifying GOES-R benefits. Using a value chain approach, we: (1) selected several NWS Hurricane forecasting products, (2) using a limited expert elicitation we surveyed NWS forecasters from U.S. coastal locations to quantify the contribution of GOES-R data in formulating these products, and (3) employed extant public Willingness-to-Pay data to monetize the value of the GOES-R contribution over the projected life of the system. We calculated a baseline present value of the GOES-R contribution to the public (for four Hurricane forecasting products alone) to be $8.36B (in 2020$). Phase 2 benefit areas include products and services related to drought, wildfire, air quality, winter storms, flood warnings, severe thunderstorms, public forecasts, aviation weather, search and rescue, and marine operations. We use NOAA Observing Systems Integrated Analysis data and analyses to determine the GOES-R contributions in these benefit areas and subjective estimates of percent impacts of average costs in each area due to weather to calculate the GOES-R benefit present value of contributions. As an order-of-magnitude check of these “bottom-up” benefit estimates, we also applied the World Bank’s “top-down” order-of-magnitude methodology called benchmarking to estimate the value of GOES-R across all U.S. economic sectors – i.e., the GOES-R system’s potential impact on GDP. Benchmarking benefit estimates compared favorably to an appropriate summation of those in the “bottom-up” benefit areas, demonstrating a possible combined value of GOES-R socioeconomic benefits over the life of the system to be in the $20B to $50B range.
  • Estimating Benefits and Costs of Chemical Exposure Limit Policies. .....Jeffrey Higgins, ABT Associates; and Matthew LaPenta, ABT Associates
  • This paper examines the benefits and costs of evaluating worker protection requirements associated with chemical exposure limit policies. Several recent U.S. EPA proposed regulations set an Existing Chemical Exposure Limit (ECEL), where industry must monitor employees’ exposure levels and mitigate any exposures above the limit using the hierarchy of controls (a system for ranking the effectiveness of various safety measures). We leveraged limited available exposure data to estimate a lognormal distribution of exposures across facilities. To evaluate the incremental change in exposure concentration, we account for baseline respirator use, then estimate exposure reductions under the policy scenario by assuming firms use respirators to address exposures above the ECEL. We estimate costs by combining the exposure distribution results with unit costs. The main contribution of our paper is that it provides a roadmap to estimate costs and benefits for policy scenarios structured around a preexisting exposure target, where worker protection requirements are the principal method for controlling exposure.
  • Estimates of Cross-Border Menthol Cigarette Sales Following the Comprehensive Tobacco Flavor Ban in Massachusetts. .....Jacob Rich, Case Western Reserve University
  • On June 1, 2020, Massachusetts became the first state in the US to ban all flavored tobacco product sales, including menthol cigarettes. Recent research has estimated the reduction in cigarette sales in Massachusetts following the comprehensive tobacco flavor ban, but noted that missing data on border states was a major limitation of the findings. This analysis replicates the difference-in-differences procedures of Asare et al. with 1540 state-months and then adds Asare et al.’s missing states with 2420 total observations for the period January 2017 to July 2021. The replication confirms Asare et al.’s adjusted estimate for the reduction in menthol cigarettes, which falls within their 95% confidence interval. However, assigning Massachusetts and its bordering states as a single treatment group leads to an increase of 191.95 (95% CI, 96.82 to 287.09) total cigarette packs sold per 1000 people in the six-state region. In the 12-month period following the comprehensive flavor ban in Massachusetts, the state sold 29.96 million fewer cigarette packs compared to the prior period. However, a total of 33.36 million additional cigarette packs were sold during the same post-ban period in the counties that bordered Massachusetts. Given the decreasing rates of smoking in all five bordering states between 2019 and 2020, the increase in border-state cigarette sales following the comprehensive flavor ban should be interpreted as a lower-bound estimate for cigarettes that were ultimately consumed in Massachusetts.
29. Theory / Methods 3 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Tuesday | 1:45 pm-3:15 pm | GWU Student Center 307
  • Incorporating Equity Concerns into Government Analysis: An International Comparison. .....Caroline Cecot, George Mason University; Robert Hahn, Smith School, Oxford University; and Eslem Imamoglu, Georgetown University
  • Governments around the world frequently use benefit-cost analysis (BCA) to help inform policy makers. BCA tries to quantify and monetize the benefits and costs of an intervention. Recognizing limits of BCA as a tool, some governments have suggested augmenting traditional BCA with an analysis of the equity impacts of an intervention. We define such equity analysis as an analysis of the impacts of a policy on specific subgroups of the population that policy makers can consider when choosing among available alternatives. This presentation would report on the results of our evaluation of government equity analysis conducted within the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union from 2016 through 2021.
  • The Lasting Effects of EO 13771: A Review of Deregulation in USCG Rulemakings. .....Jeremy Petosa, U.S. Coast Guard; Dan Villar, U.S. Coast Guard; and Jeffrey Horn, US Coast Guard
  • This presentation outlines the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Regulatory Development Program’s (RDP) implementation of Executive Order (EO) 13771’s cost saving requirements and EO 13777. Our analysis demonstrates the EO’s impact on the RDP by comparing the rulemakings promulgated before, during, and after required EO 13771 compliance. More broadly, this research provides an example of how an action with deregulatory emphasis can tangibly affect an agency’s regulatory efforts and priorities. We present a review of published USCG regulations and analyze how this new deregulatory emphasis affected metrics such as the number of Office of the Federal Register (OFR) pages, days between NPRM and final rule publication, and public interest (measured by the number of public comments received on the NPRM). In addition, we reviewed the USCG’s regulatory priority list for the same period to measure the overall priorities of all rulemakings. We conclude that following EO 13771’s implementation, USCG’s RDP prioritized more deregulatory rulemakings. The agency’s deregulatory efforts were focused on safety and administrative rules, attracted more interest from the public, were shorter, and reached publication more quickly. The agency continued to address deregulatory and burden reducing rulemakings after the executive orders were rescinded. Finally, while we did find that there continues to be a deregulatory focus at USCG, the priority list show that the effect of the deregulatory emphasis is waning in the overall rulemaking program.
30. The Benefits and Costs of OIRA Review* [Roundtable/Panel]
Tuesday | 1:45 pm-3:15 pm | GWU Amphitheater

Organizer: Susan Dudley, George Washington University
Chair: Christopher Carrigan, George Washington University

  • Christine Kymn, OIRA;
  • Mary Sullivan, George Washington University;
  • Erik Durbin, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau;
  • Al McGartland, Environmental Protection Agency;
  • Christopher Carrigan, George Washington University;
31. The Missing Piece: How Are Regulatory Costs Distributed?* [Roundtable/Panel]
Tuesday | 1:45 pm-3:15 pm | GWU Student Center 309

Organizer: Lisa Robinson, Harvard University
Chair: Lisa Robinson, Harvard University

  • Lori Bennear, Duke University;
  • Don Kenkel, Cornell University;
  • David Mitchell, Washington Center for Equitable Growth;
  • Ann Wolverton, US Environmental Protection Agency;
  • Joshua Linn, University of Maryland;
  • Lisa Robinson, Harvard University;
32. Theory / Methods 4* [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Tuesday | 3:30 pm-5:00 pm | GWU Amphitheater
  • Animals in Cost-Benefit Analysis. .....Andrew Stawasz, New York University
  • Federal agencies’ cost-benefit analyses do not capture nonhuman animals’ (“animals’”) interests. This omission matters. Cost-benefit analysis drives many regulatory decisions that substantially affect many billions of animals. That omission creates a regulatory blind spot that is untenable as a matter of morality and of policy. This Article advances two claims related to valuing animals in cost-benefit analyses. The Weak Claim argues that agencies typically may do so. No legal prohibitions usually exist, and such valuation is within agencies’ legitimate discretion. The Strong Claim argues that agencies often must do so if a policy would substantially affect animals. Cost-benefit analysis is concerned with improving welfare, and no argument for entirely omitting animals’ welfare holds water. Agencies have several options to implement this vision. These options include, most preferably, human-derived valuations (albeit in limited circumstances), interspecies comparisons, direct estimates of animals’ preferences, and, at a minimum, breakeven analysis. Agencies could deal with uncertainty by conducting sensitivity analyses or combining methods. For any method, agencies should consider what happens when a policy would save animals from some bad outcomes and what form a mandate to value animals should take. Valuing animals could have mattered for many cost-benefit analyses, including those for pet food safety regulations and a rear backup camera mandate. As a sort of “proof of concept,” this Article shows that even a simple breakeven analysis from affected animals’ perspective paints even the thoroughly investigated policy decision at issue in Entergy Corp. v. Riverkeeper, Inc. in an informative new light.
  • Counting Regulatory Burden: A Call for Nuance. .....Stuart Shapiro, Rutgers University
  • The impact of regulation on virtually every aspect of the lives of US citizens has led to an understandable impulse to measure this total impact. This enormous impact has led to various attempts to count the total number of regulations and regulatory requirements and to total the costs of regulation. And these counting mechanisms have played prominent roles in discussions over statutory changes designed to reform the process by which we write regulations. But counting regulations in a meaningful way and measuring their cumulative economic impact is an astonishingly difficult task. For this reason, there have been a wide variety of methods that scholars and advocates have employed in the effort to do so. This article is an attempt to catalog the most prominent methods of counting regulations and regulatory burden, describe their strengths and weaknesses, and to suggest alternative approaches to attack this important question.
  • Expected Discount Rate Convergence in the Short Term to the Consumption Discount Rate. .....Scott Farrow, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and Andrew Solow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
  • Li and Pizer (LP, 2021) derived bounds on the time-dependent social discount rate and showed that these bounds converged in the long-term to the consumption rate of interest. They went on to recommend using the consumption rate of interest as the discount rate for investments relating to climate change. Here, we show that the expected value of the social discount rate with a diffuse prior distribution converges in less than 10 years to the consumption rate of interest. using parameters in LP. We conclude that, in the absence of project-specific information, the recommendation of Li and Pizer extends to shorter-term projects. However, perhaps using project specific information, a mean moderately or significantly away from equal weighting of the bounds leads to longer periods to convergence. Convergence of the bounds to the consumption rate, using parameters in LP, occurs in about 175 years.
33. Health 3 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Tuesday | 3:30 pm-5:00 pm | GWU Student Center 301
  • A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Beta-Blockers, Including the Benefits of Reducing the Symptoms of Dementia. .....Robert J Brent, Fordham University
  • Background: Hypertension (high blood pressure) is prevalent worldwide in nearly 1 billion people and has a steep increase with ageing. With hypertension there is an increased risk of myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) and cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in most industrialized countries. Since hypertension also induces vascular cognitive impairment, which is a leading category of dementia, this suggests that anything that might reduce hypertension, such as beta-blockers (BB), could also have the potential to be a strong intervention for reducing the symptoms of dementia. In terms of interventions for dementia symptoms, a number of effective and socially worthwhile non-pharmaceutical interventions have been identified. But, so far, no pharmaceutical intervention has passed a cost-benefit (CBA) test. A recent economic evaluation of FDA-approved medications for dementia found that these medications were counterproductive as they actually decreased life expectancy. It would be important to see whether BBs would become the first medical intervention capable of competing for funding with the non-pharmaceutical dementia interventions. The objective of this paper is therefore to provide a CBA of BBs as a dementia intervention. The Analysis: The CBA was carried out by expressing any potential benefits in terms of mortality effects and valuing them in monetary terms, by using the value of a statistical life (VSL). The BB affect mortality directly, and also indirectly through the dementia symptoms they impact. The direct effect is called the side effects of BBs on mortality. The indirect effect of BBs on mortality is the dementia symptoms impact, which works through the fact that dementia shortens one’s lifespan, and so if BBs can reduce dementia, it will reduce mortality. Two regression equations are estimated, one for the effect of the BBs on dementia, and the other for the effects of the BBs and dementia on mortality. Estimation takes place using a large national, panel data set. Main Finding: Although they did reduce somewhat the symptoms of dementia, BBs cannot be added to the list of dementia interventions that have passed a CBA evaluation, because the side effects were so adverse. The side effects were estimated to be negative, irrespective of the estimation technique employed, or the dementia symptoms measure used. BBs are effective only for hypertensive persons with prior heart attacks and those who are younger adults. JEL Codes: D61 Cost-Benefit Analysis; D91 Role of Effects of Psychological, Emotional, and Cognitive Factors on Decision-Making: H51 Government Expenditures and Health; Topic Area: BCA and Health. JEL CLASSIFICATION: I12; J14. KEYWORDS: Beta-Blockers; non-pharmaceutical interventions; dementia; cost-benefit analysis; value of a statistical life.
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis of Ohio's Recreational Cannabis Proposal. .....Michael Hartnett, Scioto Analysis; and Rob Moore, Scioto Analysis
  • In November 2023, Ohioans will decide whether or not they want to legalize the recreational use of cannabis in the State. If the measure passes, they would become the 24th state to create a legal market for the sale of cannabis for recreational use. Allowing a market for sale of cannabis for recreational use will impact the state economy. Opening the market will allow people access to goods they would not have had otherwise, generate tax revenue for state programs, create new jobs, and reduce crime by reducing the importance of a black market in cannabis sales. At the same time, other states that have legalized recreational cannabis have seen reduced worker productivity and increased prevalence of impaired driving. By examining other states that have previously legalized recreational cannabis use, we estimate the legalization of the sale and purchase of cannabis for recreational use to have a net present value to the state economy of about $260 million per year, mostly driven by productive use of tax revenue for job training and addiction recovery programs. Our simulation model suggests a wide range of possible alternatives, though, with 90% of likely scenarios showing the net present value ranging from a net loss of $150 million to a net gain of $1.9 billion. In 90% of simulations, the net present value of legalization of the market was positive.
  • The Benefits and Costs of Paid Parental Leave. .....Buyi Wang, Columbia University; Meredith Slopen, CUNY Graduate Center; Irwin Garfinkel, Columbia University; Elizabeth Ananat, Barnard College; Sophie Collyer, Columbia University; Robert Hartley, Columbia University; Anastasia Koutavas, Columbia University; and Christopher Wimer, Columbia University
  • The United States does not have a national program to guarantee workers paid time away from work to care for themselves or family members, though several policy proposals have been introduced in recent years. To inform these policy debates, this paper analyses the social benefits per $1,000 of paid parental leave in the U.S. and estimates the benefits and costs associated with paid family leave for bonding with a newborn based on current and proposed policies. The paper will provide estimates for a range of policies at the national level. We first identify experimental studies on the impact of paid parental leave using a systematic literature review and standardize the most conservative estimated outcomes on infant and parent health and earnings per $1000 investment in paid leave. We use these estimates to conduct a microsimulation of the benefits and costs of several national policy proposals with variations in eligibility and wage replacement rates. We find that a $1000 investment in PFL results in $21,351 benefits to society. In preliminary results, we use these results to estimate the benefits and costs of the paid leave program under the Build Back Better Plan and the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act. Our results suggest that paid parental leave is an investment with a strong return, with the present discounted value of the long-term social benefits exceeding initial fiscal costs by a ratio of nearly twenty-one to one. Keywords: Paid Leave, Benefits and Costs, Earnings and Health
  • The value of health improvements around the world. .....Maddalena Ferranna, University of Southern California; JP Sevilla, Data for Decisions; Manya Malik, University of Washington; and David Bloom, Harvard University
  • The economic evaluation of health technologies such as vaccines or cancer treatments often relies on the principle that “a QALY is a QALY is a QALY”, i.e., any additional quality-adjusted-life-year (QALY) brought about by the intervention has equal value across the population independently of the characteristics of the individual enjoying the health improvement. Although such a principle is defendable on equity grounds, and on the idea that everyone should be treated equally in the allocation of resources, it hinders the empirical evidence that health improvements do have differential impacts across the population, depending, e.g., on age, disability status, earnings, or financial risk. For example, given the observed complementarity between health and consumption, and the fact that consumption declines at older ages, the value that individuals attach to an additional QALY may be declining with age. On the other hand, individual-specific empirical estimates of the value of mortality and morbidity reductions are missing for most countries due to paucity of studies, especially in lower-income settings. The objective of the paper is to provide country- and age-specific monetary estimates of the value of reductions in individual mortality and morbidity risks through a modeling approach. Based on a health-augmented lifecycle model, we derive closed-form expressions for individual age-specific willingness-to-pay for reductions in mortality and morbidity risks. We then calibrate those measures using country- and age-specific data on consumption, income, wage, and time uses derived from publicly available datasets such as the National Transfer Accounts, Time Use Surveys, the World Bank indicators, and national household surveys. To validate our willingness-to-pay measures, we determine country-specific value-per-statistical-life metrics and find that they would predict an elasticity of VSL to income slightly above 1, which is in line with the recommended value from the Global Benefit-Cost Analysis guidelines.
34. Environment 2 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Tuesday | 3:30 pm-5:00 pm | GWU Student Center 302
  • Assessing the Inconsistencies of Flood Adaptation Cost-Benefit Analyses: A Systematic and Critical Review. .....Hyun Soo Cho, Seoul National University; Sorin Ahn, Seoul National University; and Min Jin Kwack, Seoul National University
  • Floods have intensified in magnitude and frequency due to the impacts of climate change. Following suit, there has been an incremental call for more effective policies to address this issue not only nationally, but also internationally. However, ensuring that the estimation of costs and benefits of implementing flood adaptation policies commensurate with real-world impacts is a challenging procedure due to inherent uncertainties. This has been reflected in academic literature, where studies that propose the use of the Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) framework to assess flood adaptation policies portray divergent patterns. To address these inconsistencies and bridge academic gaps, we conducted a systematic and critical review over a total of 35 studies relevant to the assessment of flood adaptation policies under the CBA framework. As a result, we have identified the consistencies and discrepancies among the selected studies, and they have been categorized by flood types, country income levels (developed or developing country), flood risk estimation methods, types of benefits and costs, the decision criteria for social discount rates, the nature of outcome reported (Benefit-Cost Ratio, Net Present Value, Internal Rate of Return), and the magnitude of Benefit-Cost Ratios. Our findings suggest the need for a more harmonized approach to conducting CBAs in flood adaptation policy-making. Importantly, our study attempts to identify the academic gaps that should be addressed in order to build a better foundation for not only conducting CBAs, but also interpreting them with minimal confusion. We also call for more holistic approaches in using the CBA framework, where indirect costs and benefits incurred to society and to public health are taken into consideration along with the direct costs and benefits.
  • Water Tariff Design in the Anthropocene: Eight Problems with the World's Most Popular Water Tariff Structure (Increasing Block Tariffs). .....David Fuente, University of South Carolina; Joe Cook, Washington State University; Saumitra Sinha, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Dale Whittington, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Water professionals and policy makers around the world are struggling to understand and address the emerging challenges of managing water resources in the Anthropocene. The severity of floods and droughts is increasing. Temperatures are rising. Continental drying is affecting large regions of the globe, increasing water scarcity. Some atmospheric flows of water appear to be shifting direction. Improved pricing of municipal water and sanitation services will be an important component of the policy mix required tackle the water management challenges emerging in the Anthropocene. Increasing Block Tariffs (IBTs) are now the most popular water tariff design globally. Water professionals have been aware about some of the problems with IBT tariff structures for decades. In the past, many water professionals have not felt that the limitations of IBTs were too worrisome compared to their main advantage: IBT have been perceived by civil society to be a “fair” way to calculate residential customers’ water bills. However, the challenges of water management in the Anthropocene will make the problems with the design of IBTs increasingly costly, and the benefits of fixing these problems larger. In this paper we describe eight problems that occur with the design of IBTs. Problems that are well-known in the literature will be simply noted in passing so we can focus on problems with IBTs are only now being recognized. Well-known problems include a) multiple households (including landlords and tenants) using a single meter; 2) lifeline rates that are too large; 3) not adjusting the size of the lifeline block to account for household size; and 4) many customers do not respond to the marginal price signal of IBTs. IBT designs also create problems that have not been adequately appreciated in the literature. These include 5) customers not understanding how IBT structures are used to calculate their water bill; 6) allowing households to have more than one meter and thus receive more than one lifeline block per billing period; 7) billing all water used by a household at the price associated with the block into which their consumption falls (IBT “rachet rates”); and 8) calculating the lifeline block on an annual instead of a monthly billing cycle. We suggest ways that these eight problems can be eliminated or minimized. However, the widespread occurrence of multiple problems associated with IBTs does raise the question of whether the process of designing such nonlinear tariffs is too prone to political capture by powerful stakeholders and/or too complex for improved IBT tariff designs to be reliably adopted in the Anthropocene.
  • Valuation of Great Lakes Fishery Resources considering Hypothetical Bias and Attribute Non-attendance. .....John Whitehead, Appalachian State University; Gregory Howard, East Carolina University; and Louis Cornicelli, Southwick Associates
  • Policy makers at various levels must make allocation decisions regarding Great Lakes fishery resources. Estimates of economic value is of particular importance to these policy makers as it provides a clear measure of the broad societal effects of resource allocation decisions. A stated preference valuation survey is used to estimate the economic value held by the U.S. and Canadian publics for Great Lakes fisheries, including values held by recreational anglers and others. We fielded a survey of the general public using the Dynata online panel and the Qualtrics survey platform in November 2021. The sample size is 1593 Great Lakes state and Ontario residents. Stated preference data often suffers from two problems. Hypothetical bias exists when survey respondents state that they will pay for a resource allocation change in a survey when they would not in a real situation. Insensitivity to scope is when survey respondents are not willing to pay for increases in the resource allocation change. We estimate four models. In a naïve logit model (ignoring hypothetical bias), willingness to pay is $66 and the scope elasticity is 17%. We next recode the “vote in favor” responses to “vote against” if the respondent is uncertain about their vote to mitigate for hypothetical bias. Willingness to pay is $18 and scope elasticity is 19%. We then consider an inferred attribute non-attendance model that focuses on hypothetical bias. Willingness to pay is $20 and scope elasticity is 28%. Finally, we consider an inferred attribute non-attendance model that focuses on hypothetical bias and scope. Willingness to pay is $74 and scope elasticity is 76%. We conclude that inferred attribute non-attendance models can account for hypothetical bias, but willingness to pay estimates may be biased downward if insensitivity to scope is ignored.
  • Sensitivity of Benefit Estimates to Benefit Transfer Assumptions. .....Jessica Balukas, ICF International; Elena Besedin, ICF International; Alyssa Le, ICF International; and Rob Johnston, Clark University
  • Policies affecting water quality can provide both use and nonuse benefits to the public. Valuation of water quality improvement benefits in real-world applications almost universally requires benefit transfer (BT) due to time and budget constraints. One increasingly common BT approach is to apply a meta-regression model (MRM) that synthesizes information from many prior surface water valuation studies into BT functions. While MRMs have greater flexibility/reliability than other forms of BT, assumptions are always required when applying them to predict willingness-to-pay (WTP) across spatially complex landscapes and populations. Even the most sophisticated MRM BTs require investigator-imposed assumptions to transform water quality improvements into the simplified forms required for benefit transfer functions. Further assumptions are required to tailor the application to a given analysis scenario. A challenge for real-world BT is the potential sensitivity of benefit estimates to these sparsely reported assumptions. Although the literature offers high-level best practices to estimate WTP associated with water quality improvements, standardized protocols for MRM application are not available. Each MRM application therefore requires numerous decisions based on the valuation scenario, including: (1) assessing the appropriate market extent of affected households, or locations of households likely to hold values for the water quality improvements; (2) determining potential substitute sites for waters with water quality improvements; and (3) setting levels for binary variables in an MRM. This study discusses these key but often underappreciated assumptions within MRM BTs and illustrates the impacts using results from a recent BT implemented for NEIWPCC, a regional water quality commission. Results are drawn from four illustrative water quality scenarios in the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary. Sensitivity analyses illustrate the effects of assumptions on the estimated nonmarket values of achieving various water quality goals. We close with recommendations for how such choices should be confronted when implementing BTs to inform policy.
35. Energy / Environment 2 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Tuesday | 3:30 pm-5:00 pm | GWU Student Center 307
  • Environmental Ethical in the Use of Contingent Valuation Method. .....Fengyuan Zhang, Renmin University of China
  • 1 .Introduction and Objectives The contingent valuation method (CVM) is an important and widely used approach for assessing the value of public goods in the field of ecological and environmental economics, and in some scenarios, it is the only economic valuation method available.In the use of CVM, there are some features that may cause environmental ethics issues and inequality issues apart from irrational decision-making impacts. For example, (a) different respondents perceive different welfare from the same environmental improvement. (b) different respondents value the same welfare differently. (c) it is difficult for respondents to perceive ecological environmental value which exists but cannot be felt, such as indirect use values of ecological environments, including water conservation, air regulation, and soil conservation and etc.. 2.Main findings When the respondents make decision of their willingness-to -pay, there are some characteristics such as: (1)Is the health of residents in economically developed areas more important than the health of residents in economically underdeveloped areas? (2)Does the value that respondents do not understand exist? If respondents do not understand some of the invisible welfare brought by the environment, will their answers result in an undervaluation of environmental values? (3)Is the value of the environment itself important even if it is unrelated to the respondents? Humans are a part of the environment and have no right to destroy the habitat of other organisms and cause their extinction. The existence of the environment itself has enormous value. 3. Conclusions CVM still has irreplaceable advantages in the overall valuation of ecological environments. Considering the potential environmental ethics issues mentioned above, future use of CVM should take these issues into account when designing questionnaires. This will enable more rigorous and targeted use of CVM to evaluate the value of ecological environmental resources.
  • Payments for Ecosystem Services Programs and Climate Change Adaptation in Agriculture. .....Youngho Kim, University of Maryland at College Park
  • Payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs can enhance resilience to extreme weather events by establishing natural infrastructure such as forests and wetlands. I investigate the effectiveness of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in the United States in mitigating crop losses due to flooding through the restoration of riparian buffers and wetlands. By leveraging variation in the timing of the program’s introduction across counties, I find that CREP reduced flooded crop acres by 39 percent and the extent of damage on those acres by 26 percent during the initial 11 years of program implementation. The flood mitigation benefits of CREP generated financial spillover effects to the federal crop insurance program, saving $94 million in indemnity payouts that would have otherwise been paid to insured farmers. Two-thirds of these benefits resulted from reduced flood damage to cropland in production, with the remaining benefits arising from taking at-risk cropland out of production. The benefits varied spatially and temporally depending on the duration of program availability, extent of program participation, and adoption of alternative risk management strategies. Overall, these findings underscore the critical role of PES programs and natural infrastructure in facilitating climate change adaptation.
  • Equitable Assignment of Standing for Intergenerational Environmental Policies. .....Kip Viscusi, Vanderbilt University; and Sydney Schoonover, Vanderbilt University
  • The mortality risk reductions for social cost of greenhouse gases (SC-GHG) and other environmental efforts with long-term impacts pose greater analytic challenges than valuation of contemporaneous domestic risks. Whose preferences count and how should they be valued? The global transfer of value of a statistical life estimates (VSL) depends on the income elasticity of the VSL. This paper examines the consequences of different empirically based elasticity values. Recognizing the standing of countries now and in the future also affects the choice of the discount rate that should be used, with the principal consequence being that a higher discount rate is appropriate. Finally, the global distribution of the impact of climate change policies raises concerns regarding the importance of reporting both the global impacts as well as country-specific effects, particularly the domestic benefits to the U.S.
36. Kirsten Howard [Plenary]
Thursday | 1:00 am-2:30 am | Online: Virtual Room 1
37. Environment / Health 2 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Thursday | 2:45 am-4:15 am | Online: Virtual Room 1
  • A risk-risk trade-off analysis of climate-related mortality risks in India. .....Susan Chilton, Newcastle University; Darren Duxbury, newcastle university; Smriti Sharma, newcastle University; and Irene Mussio, University of Leeds
  • There is a growing consensus that quantifying the impact of climate change on human health needs to be prioritised, having been laid out as a top agenda item at the COP26 conference. By 2050, populations’ exposure to heatwaves are predicted to intensify and water availability to decline, undermining food security, while the risk of sea level rise and climate hazards for the 40 percent of humanity living in coastal zones will increase (IPCC 2022). The impact of climate hazards is directly related to health and demographic change. Vulnerable individuals exposed to these risks are adapting to climate change in a variety of ways, and there is a need to understand how successful, sustainable and resilient these adaptation efforts are. There is then an urgent need to understand how citizens in LMICs trade-off climate-related mortality risks with other more commonly occurring risks, and what values they place on reducing such risks. Under the umbrella of extreme weather events, the objective of this study is to quantify the mortality risks associated with environmental risks in India, including heatwaves and cyclones. We adopt the non-monetary risk-risk trade-off (RRTO) method of Viscusi et al. (1991, 2009) that does not include money in individual choices, whilst still providing a reliable estimate of how people value avoiding increased risks (or value reducing risks).
  • Cause-modified life tables for chronic disease analysis in policy applications. .....Anna Belova, ICF Incorporated; Kate Munson, ICF Incorporated; and André Kiesel, ICF Incorporated
  • Background: Environmental, occupational, and other social policies often affect the incidence of chronic disease. Evaluation of the magnitude and timing of health risk changes underlies policy benefit-cost analysis (BCA). Approaches using cause-modified life tables (CMLT) enable internally consistent evaluation of path-dependent health effects of chronic, long-term disease. Methods: We compared BCAs implementing CMLT analysis for several recent regulations, including PM NAAQS, power industry lead and bromide discharges, and occupational silica exposure. Further, we developed a CMLT analysis of 2000-2100 trends in U.S. bladder cancer burden of drinking water disinfection byproduct (DBP) exposure, reflecting USEPA’s Stage 1/Stage 2 DBP rules promulgated in 2001-2004/2012-2014. We built on Weisman et al. (2022) estimates of post-Stage 1/Stage 2 DBP exposure and Regli et al. (2015) exposure-response function. For the valuation of bladder cancer morbidity and mortality risk, we use Bosworth et al. (2009) and USEPA VSL. Results: BCAs implementing CMLT dynamically evaluated baseline- and option-specific sizes of subpopulations with and without the modeled chronic disease and subpopulation-specific mortality/survivorship. Some CMLT applications incorporated mortality and population projections, while others simplified CMLT using age-adjusted changes in life expectancy. Consistent with Weisman et al. (2022), we found that post-Stage 1/Stage 2 DBP exposure could account for approximately 8,000 bladder cancers annually. This steady state would be achieved by 2075, owing to slow changes in cumulative average exposure, concentration of cancer incidence among the elderly, and population growth. Over 2000-2100, DBP exposure could account for 1.48 million bladder cancer cases and 415 thousand deaths. The present value of avoiding this cancer burden is $2,204 billion dollars (2022$, 3% discount rate). Conclusions: Recent CMLT applications in regulatory BCA demonstrate its utility in systematically evaluating chronic disease risk over time. Improvements in CMLT applications could consider multiple competing chronic diseases, especially those jointly affected by the policy.
  • Exploring the validity of WTA for public goods: The role of certainty. .....Jerico Fiestas Flores, University of Alberta; and Vic Adamowicz, University of Alberta
  • Stated preference elicitation of Willingness to Accept (WTA) is gaining momentum as more studies are exploring its validity as welfare measure. However, hypothetical bias (HB) remains the main reason to not use the measure even when is theoretically appropriate. This paper examines the criterion validity and the usefulness of follow-up certainty questions (FCQ) to control for differences in hypothetical and real scenarios in a referendum experiment using the participant’s time as the good to evaluate. We also explore follow-up questions aimed to identity the Social Desirability Bias (SDB) that might affect responses in experimental settings. A total of 343 participants were recruited and divided in groups of 10 to 12. Each group took part in a Single Binary Choice (SBC) referendum to end the experiment session 30 minutes earlier or to stay for 30 minutes to fill out a questionnaire for an exchange of extra compensation. This allowed us to measure the WTA to forgo 30 minutes of everyone´s time. Each session was randomly allocated to a real or hypothetical scenario, as well as to two different compensation values ($3 or $8). Our results are consistent with the stated preference literature and show that FCQ help reduce the gap between hypothetical and real scenario for a single binary choice (SBC) question in a WTA context. However, the level of certainty for participants in the real scenario does not differ significantly from those in the hypothetical one, showing the need for further analysis of the usefulness of these questions. Additionally, we found a significant presence of SDB in our sessions, showing the need to account for these questions in an experimental setting.
38. Topics in Benefit-Cost Analysis [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Thursday | 2:45 am-4:15 am | Online: Virtual Room 2
  • Challenges of CBA in a period of transition. .....Emile QUINET, Paris School of Economics
  • Practitioners of CBA are now often faced with numerous questions and struggle to find answers. To understand and solve them, we take the point of view of a decision‐ maker who is responsible for choosing public investment projects in the area for which he or she is responsible, and of the analyst whose role is to shed light on these choices by means of cost‐benefit analysis (CBA). As a result of the transition period we're in, linked above all to the fight against global warming, this role has changed significantly compared to what it was some fifteen years ago, and on which we're still largely living. We cannot rely on extrapolation of past tendencies to forecast the future. We analyze the reasons for this change: the considerable weight of externalities, particularly global ones, and the determination of public authorities to combat their harmful effects through major inflexions in the course of our development; the inter-sectoral and macro-economic links between these inflexions; the growing uncertainty affecting the effects of climate change. We suggest new ways, taking into account these new characteristics, of generating and processing overall scenarios, and of incorporating the CBA of individual projects into these scenarios. The conclusion insists that BCA should be used more than in the past to test scenarios and establish investment programs, and that it should involve greater cooperation than in the past between analysts and decision‐makers
  • Pricing Farm Electricity, Water Use and Efficiency in Paddy Cultivation: Evidence from Punjab, India. .....Disha Gupta, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research
  • There has been a declining trend in groundwater depths in India and subsidies on farm electricity is seen as one of a key factors contributing to over-extraction of groundwater resources in the country raising concerns about its sustainability for irrigation. In this paper, we estimate the reduction in groundwater pumping under volumetric pricing of farm electricity for the state of Punjab where farm electricity is free. Further, we quantify gains in efficiency in terms of reduction of the deadweight loss under this pricing regime. We use parcel-level cost of cultivation data from the Ministry of Agriculture for the block period of 2011-12 to 2013-14 combined with data on groundwater depth and rainfall to estimate the production function for paddy using instrumental variable approach. This is used to get the estimates of the marginal product of water to compute the optimal level of water use at different levels of electricity price. We also quantify change in other inputs and paddy yields due to unit-price induced reduction in groundwater pumping. We find that the estimated marginal product of water at the irrigation volumes chosen by the farmers is very low. The average marginal product of water is estimated to be 34 kilograms for additional thousand cubic meters of water per hectare. Simulations show that increasing the price of electricity from current level of zero to the true cost of electricity supply leads to sharp cutbacks in water extraction using electric pumps. We show welfare gains in terms of reduction of the deadweight loss as a result of pricing agricultural electricity at the margin. We quantify average lump- sum subsidy that can be given to farmers as Direct Benefit Transfers into their bank accounts to keep their surplus unchanged.
  • Farm-Level Economics of Agrivoltaic Systems in the US Midwest. .....Paul Mwebaze, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign; Madhu Khanna, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign; James McCall, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Fahd Majeed, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign; DK Lee, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign; Xuzhi Du, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign; Menqgi Jia, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign; Nenad Miljkovic, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign; Bin Peng, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign; Ruiqing Miao, Auburn University; Kaiyu Guan, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign; and Jordan Macknick, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • This paper estimates the impacts of pesticide maximum residue level (MRL) standards imposed by the European Union (EU) on trade flows from African exporting countries to the United Kingdom (UK) using a fixed-effects gravity model specification for the period 1990-2021. Due to the stringent MRL standards, we also examine the risk of pest infestation on trade flows to the UK. We employ the Poison Pseudo Maximum Likelihood (PPML) estimation method to estimate the gravity model with corrections for the zero trade-flows. Most variables have the expected signs and were statistically significant, consistent with the trade literature. The volume of trade increases with the GDP of the exporting countries and the UK, and the volume of trade decreases with geographical distance. The variables describing the cultural and economic proximity of countries, such as colonial relationships, positively affect the volume of trade. Regarding the impact of MLRs on trade flows, the results were only partially consistent between the product groups. However, some commodities do exhibit sensitivity to changes in pesticide MRL standards imposed by the EU and hence applied in the UK. The elasticity of the UK’s imports of fresh produce from the selected exporting countries regarding chlorpyrifos MRL standards estimated in the previous regression was used to predict changes in export values of fresh produce under alternative standard-setting scenarios. The results indicate that if the UK were to adopt the CODEX international standards on spring onions and shallots, imports from the selected countries would have increased substantially by 202% over the period as a whole because the CODEX international standards of chlorpyrifos MRL on onions and shallots are less restrictive than the EU MRL standard. Egypt, S. Africa, and Kenya would gain the most from such a policy change in absolute monetary terms. Exports of onions would also increase from Morocco but by a smaller margin than these other countries. If the CODEX international standards for legumes were to have been adopted by the UK, then conversely, imports from Kenya, Zambia, Egypt, S. Africa, Morocco and Zimbabwe would have declined by 13.2% over the study period because the CODEX international standard of Chlorpyrifos on leguminous vegetables are much more restrictive than those of the EU. Kenyan exports would be significantly affected, declining by over £200 million during the study period.
  • Lift public sector BCA practices. .....Kirsten Jensen, New Zealand Treasury
  • There is an increasing international interest in learning from the New Zealand CBAx approach. People are asking how did you go about developing CBAx and what did you learn from it? This presentation shares the story from a New Zealand Treasury perspective working with public sector agencies. It provides insights and lessons – some maybe surprising. This includes themes of: (a) Demand and supply, (b) Re-framing BCA and shifting mindsets and (c) Learning by doing. The CBAx approach to BCA takes a broad and long term perspective on benefits and costs. There is less emphasis on one summary number (BCR/NPV). Do we understand the societal impacts of public policies and interventions, the assumptions and evidence base? CBAx encourages people to think IQM: (a) Identify impacts broadly, (b) quantify impacts where possible and (c) monetise key impacts with a good evidence base. All impacts, whether monetised or not, are part of the assessment. This challenges a narrow view of BCA as being all about monetisation. Policy people can do BCA. It is not just for economists. There are expectations, guidance and tools for public sector agencies. We seek to empower policy people broadly - analysts, finance, evaluators, modellers, subject matter experts etc. CBAx seeks to standardise BCA practice to make BCA easier, quicker and more comparable. Taking a learning by doing approach can lift capability relatively quickly. BCA offers a robust way to think about impacts and to advise decision makers on value for money.
39. Topics in BCA and Health [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Thursday | 2:45 am-4:15 am | Online: Virtual Room 3
  • Behavioral Considerations in Stated Preference Valuation of Human Life Metrics: VSL, VSLY, and VQALY. .....Wojciech Zawadzki, University of Warsaw; Henrik Andersson, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute; Mikołaj Czajkowski, University of Warsaw; and Arne Risa Hole, Universitat Jaume I
  • This study centers on a critical investigation into the robustness of estimates for the value of statistical life (VSL), the value of statistical life year (VSLY), and the value of quality-adjusted life year (VQALY) derived from stated preference valuation methodologies. Our focus primarily rests on comparative analysis, assessing the degree to which selected behavioral effects influence these estimates. The examination encompasses the anchoring effect – probing whether prior information significantly sways responses, attribute level selection's impact on the observed results, altruism unveiled through selfless acts benefiting others via direct and indirect queries, and the temporal dimension's sway on preferences – investigating hyperbolic discounting, present-focus preferences, and behavioral impulsiveness theory. The envisaged presentation of preliminary results (pilot study scheduled from November 2022, involving roughly 1000-1500 respondents, preceded by individual interviews with medical experts and focus groups) at the SBCA conference offers an avenue to validate initial hypotheses, enhance the questionnaire, and prepare for a final survey involving 4000-5000 respondents around the turn of 2023-2024. This juncture also beckons fellow researchers to join forces and conduct a pan-European survey, expanding the sample size for cross-country analyses. This study's significance lies in its potential to enhance the reliability and quality of stated preference health studies. Amidst a proliferation of health-oriented stated preference studies, only a minority delve into fortifying their robustness. While scope sensitivity issues affecting willingness-to-pay estimates are spotlighted in recent literature, VSL, VSLY, and VQALY estimates remain somewhat overlooked – even though they might be more susceptible. Given their central role in health economics' cost-benefit analyses guiding policy decisions, confirming the stability of these measures against behavioral influences assumes paramount importance. Without such validation, the authenticity of findings could be compromised, rendering insights misleading.
  • An Adaptable Framework for Modeling the Benefits and Costs of Substance Use Disorder Recovery Programs. .....Madison Ashworth, Fletcher Group, Inc.; Robin Thompson, Fletcher Group, Inc; and David Johnson, Fletcher Group, Inc.
  • Substance use disorder is a worsening public health crisis in the United States that is associated with significant economic costs including healthcare, criminal justice, productivity, and mortality and morbidity costs. Cost-benefit analyses are often important to demonstrate the value of treatment services, but many recovery programs operate with relatively small operating budgets that do not allow for the rigorous data collection required to support individual program cost-benefit analyses. However, evidence of program effectiveness and returns are crucial to overcome community opposition and stigma, garner local stakeholders’ support, secure state level funding. As such, there is a need for a cost-benefit framework that is flexible enough to capture the economic benefits and costs of different recovery support programs that can be easily utilized and adapted by recovery program operators. In this presentation, we present a framework for a customizable cost-benefit analysis that can be utilized by different recovery programs along the substance use disorder continuum of care that considers the program’s operating and capital costs, location, size, and success rate. Using data from nearly 200 programs across the country, we examine the different economic costs and benefits of various recovery program types along the continuum of care. We find that there are significant benefits associated with substance use disorder treatment even with more conservative modeling of recovery benefits. Specifically, we find that a representative recovery housing program in Florida yields a net benefit of $228 million dollars over 20 years with an associated return on investment of $56 per dollar invested. Further, we find that the net benefits of different treatment modalities including a recovery house, a recovery campus, and a residential inpatient program are positive, with returns on investment varying from nearly $56 per dollar invested to $4 per dollar.
  • Smoking and Vaping among Young Adults: A Survey Experiment in Turkiye. .....Asena Caner, TOBB University of Economics and Technology; Don Kenkel, Cornell University; Alan Mathios, Cornell University; Belgi Turan, TOBB University of Economics and Technology; Berna Tarı Kasnakoğlu, TOBB University of Economics and Technology; Yenal Can Yiğit, TOBB University of Economics and Technology; and Gökçen Begüm Tezekici, TOBB University of Economics and Technology
  • Turkiye is a developing country where about 30% of adults still smoke, despite significant achievements in tobacco control. E-cigarettes were available for purchase in the country, however, a regulation in 2020 banned their imports and sales. No bans exist on possession or personal use. In fact, familiarity with e-cigarettes is common among smokers and many actively use them. This research aims to identify and understand the factors (such as price, legality, nicotine content, flavor, and health warning labels) that influence perceptions (of health risk and addictiveness), concerns, and the choice between smoking, vaping, and cessation among young adults in Turkiye. An online survey experiment is used to collect data from university students in Turkiye. Participants are randomly assigned to conditions where they are presented with specially designed hypothetical products with attributes such as price, legality, nicotine content, flavor, and health warnings, and asked questions about the products. Outcome variables are respondents’ perceptions about addictiveness, health risk, and acceptability of the products, in addition to their willingness to use them and willingness for cessation (currently or in the near future). The survey also collects data on basic demographics and smoking behavior of respondents. Logistic and ordinary least squares regressions will be used to estimate the effects of the design attributes on the outcome variables. This study contributes to the literature on benefit-cost analysis of tobacco regulatory policy. It explores how legal status and other policy-defined attributes of products influence consumers’ benefit-cost assessment and their perceptions and choices. It stands out as a pioneer in investigating the effects of product attributes on perceptions about health risk and addictiveness, and the decision to smoke, vape, or do neither, in an experimental setting in a developing country with a recent ban on e-cigarette sales and with notable challenges in enforcing and overseeing regulations.
  • Evaluating the Cost-Effectiveness of Tobacco Regulation in Mexico: A Subnational Analysis. .....Fernando Briseño, Movimiento Pro Vecino
  • This study is a two-stage benefit-cost analysis of tobacco regulation in Mexico. In the first stage we use quantitative methods to assess the effect of the entry into force of state-level anti-tobacco regulations on smoking prevalence, initiation, and cessation. Our preliminary results indicate that despite a widespread regulatory implementation, there is variability in its efficacy across states. This raises critical questions about the allocation of resources in public health interventions and invites a reassessment of current strategies. The second paper focuses on quantifying the costs, measured as the taxation revenue collected and public expenditures incurred for implementing tobacco regulation. This, in comparison with limited outcomes in smoking cessation and postponed adoption signal a meager cost-benefit assessment of these regulations. The study contributes to the academic discourse by introducing a focused, quantifiable measure of the cost-effectiveness of tobacco regulation in a lower-middle-income country setting, offering insights that could inform both domestic and international policy discussions in the realm of benefit-cost analysis.
40. Beyond BCA: Innovations and Ethical Considerations [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Thursday | 9:00 am-10:30 am | Online: Virtual Room 1

Organizer: Lisa Robinson, Harvard University
Chair: Lisa Robinson, Harvard University
  • The Limits of Distributional Weights. .....Matthew Adler, Duke University
  • A number of governments already employ benefit-cost analysis (BCA) with distributional weights, and the U.S. is now in the process of revising its BCA guidance documents to permit such weights. Distributional weights permit BCA to serve as an approximation to the social welfare function (SWF) framework for policy analysis. Traditional BCA ranks policies by summing individuals’ monetary equivalents (compensating or equivalent variations) relative to some baseline. The SWF framework converts each possible outcome of policy choice into a vector (list) of interpersonally comparable well-being numbers, and uses some rule (the SWF proper) to rank these vectors. The utilitarian SWF ranks vectors according to the sum of individual well-being. A “prioritarian” SWF plugs well-being numbers into a concave transformation function, and sums transformed well-being. This has the effect of giving extra weight to those at lower levels of well-being. Distributional weights are a bridge between these two approaches. For a wide range of SWFs, the ranking of outcomes can be approximated by summing individuals’ monetary equivalents multiplied by distributional weights. In the case of the utilitarian SWF, the individual’s weight equals her marginal utility of money. In the case of a prioritarian SWF, the weight equals the utilitarian weight multiplied by an additional factor that is inversely proportional to the individual’s well-being level. That said, there are two major limitations in using distributionally weighted BCA as a stand-in for the SWF approach. First, BCA with distributional weights provides only an approximation to the SWF-based outcome ranking. This approximation can be quite inaccurate as individuals’ monetary equivalents become large. Second, BCA with distributional weights may fail to approximate BCA once uncertainty is introduced into policy evaluation. The latter difficulty does not implicate the utilitarian SWF, but it does implicate prioritarian SWFs.
  • The societal burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. .....Maddalena Ferranna, University of Southern California
  • The paper discusses the difference between benefit-cost analysis and social welfare analysis in the evaluation of pandemic preparedness policies. Two social welfare approaches are considered: utilitarianism and prioritarianism. Benefit-cost analysis sums the individuals’ monetary equivalents of the pandemic impacts. Social welfare analysis aggregates individuals’ wellbeing impacts. The aggregation rule identifies the normative judgments about what is fair. The paper shows that the two methods yield very different estimates of the value of avoiding a future pandemic similar to the COVID-19 one. Compared to BCA, considerations about the distribution of the costs of the hypothetical intervention play a major role in the estimate of both utilitarian and prioritarian pandemic burdens: The more progressive the distribution of the costs is, the larger the benefits of preventing the pandemic. In contrast, the BCA pandemic burden is indifferent to the distribution of the intervention costs. In addition, BCA tends to underestimate the burden suffered by low-income countries compared to social welfare analysis.
  • Wellbeing Value for Money. .....Christian Krekel, London School of Economics
  • In this talk, I will be presenting some results of the Wellbeing Value-for-Money Project, which is joint research between the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics (LSE) and several UK Government departments and agencies, aimed at conducting social cost-benefit analyses (SCBA) either partly or entirely based on WELLBYs (i.e. one point of life satisfaction for one individual for one year) as an alternative measure of benefits. We are looking at a wide range of major policy options (not just those particularly susceptible to wellbeing), including active labour market policies, transport, and crime, and attempt to put into practice recommendations on wellbeing policy analysis outlined in HM Treasury's Green Book Supplementary Guidance on Wellbeing. While showing that this approach can be applied to a wide range of policies, I will point towards current challenges in this approach, knowledge gaps, and potential avenues for future research.
  • Efficient Frontiers, Threshold Parameters, and Distributional CEA. .....Ankur Pandya, Harvard University
  • Atkinson Index-based distributional cost-effectiveness analysis (DCEA) requires an inequality aversion parameter (ε) to calculate the equally distributed equivalent (EDE). The DCEA decision rule is to choose the strategy with the highest EDE. However, ε is unknown for most health disparities and settings, thus hindering the use of DCEA. We propose an efficient frontier method that results in interpretable threshold ε values, and apply this approach to a gene therapy cure for sickle cell disease (SCD). DCEA weighs trade-offs between health gains and reductions in health disparities using an equity weight (ε, where 0 implies no extra weight on interventions that reduce disparities) to calculate an EDE for the distribution of outcomes across subgroups. When the exact value of ε is unknown, we propose plotting mutually exclusive strategies on an efficient frontier to identify dominance (worse on disparities and net health benefit [NHB]) and trade-offs. Threshold ε values can be back-calculated for adjacent options on the efficient frontier, and these threshold ε parameters can be interpreted in the context of commonly-used values (0.5≤ε≤3.0 in the US, Glassman 2019, Atkinson 1970) or estimates from empirical studies (ε=11.0-28.9 for the UK, Robson 2017). The threshold ε is similar to an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER), which does not require a specific willingness-to-pay (WTP) for health value to be calculated. The EDE is similar to NHB, requiring an additional parameter value. We adapted a cost-effectiveness model developed by Salcedo et al. in 2021 to apply this approach (using a WTP of $100,000/quality-adjusted life-year [QALY]) for a hypothetical gene therapy cure for SCD in the US. The therapy addresses an important health disparity but might cost ≥$3,000,000/treated patient.
  • The Health-Augmented Lifecycle Model. .....JP Sevilla, Data for Decisions
  • There is a need to value health technologies in a way that accommodates their broader economic impacts and competing approaches for doing so have emerged. I discuss how productive efficiency requires a uniform value framework across the entire public sector, and how the Pareto Principle (PP) requires policymakers to resolve intrapersonal trade-offs by deferring to the preferences of the individuals facing those trade-offs. I argue that many broad value frameworks such as cost utility analysis and its extensions, health-centric multicriteria decision analysis, and poverty free life expectancy are too health-sector-centric, running afoul of productive efficiency, or non-individual-preference-based, violating PP. I propose using the health-augmented lifecycle model (HALM) to value health technologies in a way that incorporates, in a flexible and utility theoretic way, the interactions among health and economic factors—specifically mortality and morbidity risks, paid and unpaid work, consumption, leisure, and public and private transfer inflows and outflows--over the life course. It relies on individual preferences, satisfying PP, and has general application to public sector valuation, facilitating productive efficiency. It is compatible with cost-benefit analysis, social welfare functions, and equivalent income approaches. I calibrate the HALM for the US setting and apply it to a pediatric vaccine.

  • Matthew Adler, Duke University;
  • Maddalena Ferranna, University of Southern California;
  • Christian Krekel, London School of Economics;
  • Ankur Pandya, Harvard University;
  • JP Sevilla, Data for Decisions;
41. International Dimensions 1 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Thursday | 9:00 am-10:30 am | Online: Virtual Room 2
  • Cost benefits analysis for Water Supply Projects in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. .....Marin Rachel Mariathasan, University of Sri Jayewardenepura
  • Authors: M. M. Rachel*, U. A. D. P. Gunawardena Jaffna is a peninsula located in the northernmost part of Sri Lanka, which experiences prolonged dry periods and limited rainfall annually. The climatic and topographic conditions of the region make its groundwater aquifers the only reliable source of freshwater. These aquifers are severely degraded due to over-extraction and improper management, resulting in an economic burden upon the inmates of the peninsula. This study focuses on the valuation of such economic burden in terms of the significant issues identified. Data collection was done through questionnaire surveys in selected District Secretariat Divisions. Cost of Illness, Avertive Behaviour Approach, and Production Function Method were used to estimate the costs associated with health impacts, mitigation practises, and the agriculture production loss respectively. The estimated costs were then extrapolated to the peninsula. The results showed that 30% of the respondents suffered diarrhoea, which can be attributed to the consumption of poor-quality groundwater. Over 80% of the respondents stated that they practise at least one mitigation method to avoid polluted water consumption. A significant decrease in the production of paddy was identified in saline-prone areas. The annual total estimated damage cost incurred by Jaffna peninsula from the three identified issues was USD 11,246,920. This cost figure was used to perform a Benefit-Cost Analysis for two major proposed water supply projects assuming that the projects are capable of averting the damage costs. The findings of this study show that the social benefits from these two projects are higher than their installation and operation costs. The analysis highlights the need for active investments in water supply projects in the region and the need for the incorporation of environmental and social values in cost-benefit analysis.
  • Integration of life cycle assessment tool with Benefit cost analysis. .....Amritha Gunawardena, University of Colombo
  • Authors - Gunawardena M. A.* and Lokupitiya E. Y. K. Intensive agricultural systems are associated with a variety of negative impacts on the environment and it is worth investigating the net impact to the society by weighing the costs against the benefits. Conducting benefit cost analyses is however restricted by the limited data related to physical quantification of impacts and their monetary valuation. Life cycle assessment (LCA) provides a convenient data source that could be utilized in conducting benefit cost analysis coupled with value transfer approach. The present study compared environmental impacts of the full crop cycle of pineapple grown in Sri Lanka under the Conventional Cultivation System (CCS) and Organic Cultivation System (OCS) using LCA tool with the data collected through a farmer survey. Global warming potential and eutrophication potential quantified under LCA were used along with the pesticide use data to derive the damage costs associated with the two cultivation systems. Values for the ecosystem service benefits associated with agricultural systems including the soil formation, soil organic carbon and biological control of pests were also estimated using the value transfer approach. Twenty years with cultivation on the same land was considered. Results indicated the non-viability of the CCS while the OCS was viable with a net present value of USD 70,024 per ha. The results could be used in development of policy instruments to encourage organic cultivation systems. Further development of this integration is required to reflect longer time horizons associated with certain impacts such as global warming impacts. Results of LCA are usually intended for technical specialists while cost benefit information is useful for decision making at all levels. Thus, importance of integration of the two tools providing parallel information for decision makers at different levels of comprehension is emphasized.
  • Decentralized vs. Centralized Water Pollution Cleanup in the Ganges in a Model with Three Cities. .....Amit Batabyal, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • We think of the cleanup of water pollution in the Ganges river in India as a local public good and ask whether this cleanup ought to be decentralized or centralized. We depart from the existing literature on this subject in two important ways. First, we allow the heterogeneous spillovers from cleaning up water pollution to be positive or negative. Second, we focus on water pollution cleanup in three cities---Kanpur, Prayagraj, Varanasi---through which the Ganges flows. Our model sheds light on two broad issues. First, we characterize efficient water pollution cleanup in the three cities, we describe how much water pollution is cleaned up under decentralization, we describe the set of cleanup amounts under decentralization, and we discuss why pollution cleanup under decentralization is unlikely to be efficient. Second, we focus on centralization. We derive the tax paid by the inhabitants of the three cities for pollution cleanup, the benefit to a city inhabitant from water pollution cleanup, how majority voting determines how much pollution is cleaned up when the spillovers from cleanup are uniform, and finally, we compare the amounts of pollution cleaned up with majority voting with the efficient pollution cleanup amounts.
  • Willingness-to-Pay reduce the risk and severity of skin problems due to exposure to chemicals and chemical products: evidence from OECD countries. .....Giles Atkinson, London School of Economics; Davide Contu, Canadian University Dubai; Stavros Georgiou, Health and Safety Executive; Susana Mourato, London School of Economics; and Chiara Sotis, London School of Economics
  • The “SWACHE” project (Surveys of willingness-to-pay to avoid chemicals-related health effects) is being carried out by the Working Party on Integrating Environment and Economic Policies (WPIEEP) under OECD’s Environment Policy Committee, in collaboration with the Working Party on Risk Management (WPRM) under the OECD’s Chemicals and Biotechnology Committee. It builds on work that was carried out in the so-called SACAME project (Surveys of willingness-to-pay to avoid chemicals-related health effects). The objective of this project is to develop questionnaires to be used to ask respondents about their willingness-to-pay (WTP) to avoid a selection of negative chemicals-related health impacts. This survey is part of the SWACHE initiative. In this paper we investigate the WTP to reduce the risk of skin sensitization associated with exposure to certain chemicals. Through a stated preference survey with representative samples in several OECD countries we quantify the benefits people perceive from reducing skin reactions due to chemicals exposure. Measuring these impacts can help policy makers design chemicals regulation to protect human health. Previous literature has shown that exposure to chemicals occurs in two stages, the induction and elicitation phase. In the induction phase a contact with the chemical may affect the immune system of a person, while in the elicitation phase contact with a chemical that has affected the immune system can lead to skin conditions such as itchiness, burning sensations, rashes and blisters. Participants in our survey receive training on the type of reaction they could experience if they become sensitized to chemicals and are asked their WTP to avoid flare-ups based on their occurrence (yearly frequency), their location (face and visible areas or less visible areas) and symptoms experienced during a reaction. They are then asked to value products that are guaranteed not to have sensitizing agents through choice cards. Data collection is ongoing.
42. Topics in BCA in Europe [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Thursday | 9:00 am-10:30 am | Online: Virtual Room 3
  • Cost-benefit analysis of adaptation to climate change for a railway infrastructure manager in France. .....alain quinet, SNCF Reseau; and julien brunel, SNCF Reseau
  • The weather has always been a subject of interest for railway infrastructure managers. The railway network, which is mostly located outdoors, is constantly exposed to weather events that can affect the reliability of operations on the network. With climate change, infrastructure managers need to evolve their practices. They may adapt maintenance and monitoring policies. They can also invest in new assets to account for new damages. Our article offers a contribution to this issue by studying how cost-benefit analysis can help guide the actions of the infrastructure manager. We know since the pioneering work of Van Dantzig that cost-benefit analysis can guide choices in weather hazard prevention. This analytical framework can be extended without major difficulty to the case of prevention actions related to climate change. However, there is a significant specificity in the case of climate change. The trajectory of climate change is uncertain because it depends on global exogenous parameters such as economic growth, greenhouse gas reduction policies, or technological advancements. For cost-benefit analysis, this uncertainty leads to a change in the decision criterion. We examine the relevance of alternative decision criteria that allow the infrastructure manager to evaluate different strategies for adapting to climate warming. One possible approach is expected value calculation but faces operational difficulty related to scenario probability. These limitations suggest the use of other approaches such as Wald's criteria (maximin) or Savage's criteria (minimizing regret). In the end, we demonstrate, starting from an illustrative case, that the implementation of these criteria leads to recommending more cautious actions than those resulting from a standard evaluation.
  • Evaluation of transport infrastructure using an integrated model of induced travel and mode choice. .....jerome massiani, Università Milano Bicocca; and Emile Quinet, Paris school of Economics
  • Discrete choice modelling has become the dominating practice for transport planning. However a well- known feature and, arguably, a limitation of this model is to separate mode choice and trip generation. It is routinely implemented assuming a given trip matrix, that in some occurrence, like in the canonical 4 steps model, implies to separate trip generation and distribution from mode choice. Such separation may generate inconsistencies compared to a possible unified model. It is thus relevant to think of an integrated approach which gathers induced trips and mode choice in a single model. The purpose of the proposed contribution is to set up a micro-founded model for personal trips including induced travel and mode choice. In this model, travellers face a trip destination and can choose among two modes to reach this destination. They also consume a generic good depending on how much is left to them in alternative to spending on transport and destination activity. Goods bear taxation, extra-profit and can generate externalities. We assume an improvement of transport mode takes place. We derive individual and collective demand responses and welfare measures. The model provides relevant results: First it provides a categorization of trips that is more rigorous than the usual distinction in use among transport evaluators. Second, based on this categorization, it shows that part of the demand reaction can be absent from forecast and evaluation. One intriguing notion is the one of “induced trips of transferred users”, a notion that has no reason to become apparent in the usual framework. Third, the model shows that certain impacts are absent in the usual framework. For instance, the hypothesis of Extreme Value distribution becomes problematic when generated trips are included in the framework, in a sense that we better define. Fourth, the proposed model sheds lights on certain controversies : for instance the tax inclusion in NPV calculation. Fifth, the model can be used to analyse some evaluation paradoxes, that have been occasionally discussed in project evaluation : the fact that a built infrastructure should better never be opened or the fact that a scenario with higher traffic may have a lower Net Present value.
  • Optimizing fuel taxation between environmental benefits and socio-economic costs. .....Richard GRIMAL, CEREMA
  • Our communication deals with the optimal level of fuel taxation in France, as a balance between environmental benefits and socio-economic costs. If energy taxation is usually perceived as an efficient tool to reduce car use externalities, this efficiency nonetheless depends on price elasticity. In addition, by rising energy prices, fuel taxation also generates socio-economic costs for car users, through the increase in transport expenditures, and the disutility caused by the partial renouncement to travel, resulting in a loss of consumer surplus. In order for fuel taxation to be beneficial at the socio-economic level, collective benefits – the environmental benefit resulting from avoided externalities, and socio-economic welfare created through public spending – must exceed its individual shortcomings – the extra energy cost for households, and the welfare loss caused by the renouncement to travel. The optimal level of fuel taxation will be obtained by maximizing this net socio-economic outcome. For our calculation, we use official traffic series at the national scale, conventional externality values, while fuel price elasticities are taken from the literature, and fiscality is first supposed to be socio-economically neutral. In France, car traffic was found to be quite inelastic in recent econometric studies, implying that the environmental benefit, along with the welfare loss of fuel taxation, are negligible. As a result, its net socio-economic outcome mainly depends on the good use of public funds. This outcome is also deteriorating with rising oil prices, reducing the optimal level of fuel taxation over time. However, as parameter values are uncertain – in particular, the valuation of externalities, and the socio-economic return of public spending, do not rely on a scientific basis, but rather manifest a temporary political consensus - sensitivity tests are implemented. Finally, we question the reproducibility of our methodology and results in other national contexts.
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis Affecting Policymaking in the European Union. .....Kristina Gogic, Independent Researcher in the Field of BCA
  • Keywords: BCA, Policymaking, EU Research question: How does BCA affect policymaking in the EU? Methods: Research through the Internet of the relevant sites, comparing the novel with the previous research Benefit-cost analysis (BCA) is an analysis that the European Commission used the field of the Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) Infrastructures - Strategy for Europe 2014-2020, when it was a new field. This research is composed of the existing data with the new data. This is one of the examples which proves that the BCA is important for the Strategy for Europe. Every year the European Commission adopts its annual work program setting the list most important actions it will take in the year ahead. That is, in fact, the policy-making, creating policy for all European citizens; through the projects, through the budget. Securing finance is always important. If it is not possible to secure finance for a particular project then it is not possible to realise the project. So, the influence of the BCA on the policymaking of the EU is visible through the previous example of RDI infrastructures. It is a generic name for investment projects that are designed and operated according to very different specifications and cannot be analyzed with the same degree of standardization of methods. Investment projects of infrastructures are very important for growth in general, in particular for the smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth that will create new jobs. The conclusion is that good decision-makers who are usually politicians play the main role in forming a good strategy, which should bring a better future for all European citizens. A good strategy of the EU affects its business connections with third countries too. That is important for International Development, where recently Brexit brought some significant changes, for all sides in the businesses.
43. Benefit-Cost Analysis in the Baltic Countries [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Thursday | 10:45 am-12:15 pm | Online: Virtual Room 1

Organizer: Glenn Blomquist, University of Kentucky
Chair: Anders Paalzow, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga
  • Estimating Cost Savings from Medication Reviews Conducted for Nursing Homes in Estonia. .....Jürgen Jänese, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga; Lauris Žēpers, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga; and Ágnes Lublóy, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga
  • The aim of this study is to measure and evaluate the cost savings of medication reviews for individuals living in nursing homes in Estonia. Medication reviews performed as part of the automated dose dispensing (ADD) service by community pharmacies might help identify suboptimal medicine regimens. We use a case study approach to identify suboptimal use of medication in treatment plans, and to estimate the potential cost savings. We assess 101 treatment plans submitted for medication review by nursing homes between 2021 and 2023 in Estonia. Our estimated direct cost saving is EUR 43.62 on average per patient per year. For the entire nursing home population in Estonia, we estimate a total cost saving of EUR 610,680 per annum. Regression analysis reveals that the most significant contributors to this cost saving are suboptimal generic use, incorrect dosage (too high), and incorrect medication which needs to be eliminated. Our study suggests that annual medication reviews conducted as part of the ADD service might help reduce medication expenditure when offered to a wider public.
  • A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Banning Flavored E-Cigarettes in Latvia. .....Maria Iriscenko, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga; Ksenija Ivanova, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga; and Dominik Gerber, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga
  • The growing trend of flavoured e-cigarette consumption in Latvia, especially among the youth, has spurred the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Latvia to contemplate a policy ban on flavoured vapes. This study seeks to assess the prospective socio-economic ramifications of such a policy through a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis. Grounded in both qualitative and quantitative data, our analysis weighs the prospective governmental revenue losses from excise tax and the potential spike in the shadow economy against the anticipated health and environmental benefits. Preliminary findings indicate significant economic and social trade-offs, underscoring the need for a meticulous evaluation. Through this study, we hope to provide a holistic overview of the potential costs and benefits, assisting policymakers in making an informed decision.
  • Estimating Benefits of Improvements in Health Literacy. .....Ágnes Lublóy, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga; and Zane Vārpina, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga
  • Health literacy is a critical determinant of health outcomes and an essential facet of public health strategy. A significant proportion of the Latvian population possesses an inadequate or problematic level of health literacy, a rate higher than many other European countries (Galutyte et al, 2022). This poses challenges to healthcare utilization, patient safety, and health equity. Leading health professionals underscore the urgent need for health literacy improvement policies. This study aims to estimate the potential benefits of enhancing health literacy in Latvia. Improved health literacy offers financial benefits primarily through two channels: more efficient use of healthcare resources and enhanced health outcomes, including reduced mortality.

  • Ágnes Lublóy, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga;
  • Maria Iriscenko, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga;
  • Ksenija Ivanova, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga;
  • Zane Vārpina, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga;
  • Dmitry Yanin, Healthy Initiatives;
44. David Pannell: The Value of a Non-Market Value in Benefit-Cost Analysis [Plenary]
Thursday | 8:00 pm-9:30 pm | Online: Virtual Room 1
45. The Economics of Electric Road Systems [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Friday | 1:00 am-2:30 am | Online: Virtual Room 1

Organizer: Martin Koning, Gustave Eiffel University
Chair: Richard GRIMAL, CEREMA
  • How to introduce electric trucks in the EU when battery development is uncertain. .....Maria Börjesson, VTI; and Stef Proost, KU Leuve
  • When and how truck transport can be decarbonized cost-effectively is important policy question as trucks account for 25% of road transport emissions. This paper compares the user cost of diesel trucks, battery electric trucks and trucks that rely on overhead lines and this for different developments of battery costs. The user costs contain the truck lease costs, the energy costs and the possible Vehicle to Grid benefits. The possible user cost developments are used as input for an optimal policy investment decision in electric motorways. As many heavy trucks are cross border, the analysis is done for one homogeneous country (coordinated EU decision) and for a combination of countries with different density of motorway truck use that may not cooperate.
  • Electric Road Systems: Can a societal sweet spot be profitable for every actor?. .....Fabien Perdu, CEA; and Marc Raynal, CEREMA
  • Decarbonization of road transport will necessarily involve a massive electrification, which requires a huge quantity of batteries, for personal cars but also for heavy-duty vehicles. Electric Road Systems (ERS), by enabling long distance trips even with a limited battery size, could help reaching electrification while limiting the cost and impacts of the batteries in terms of GHG emissions and critical resource use. A simplified model allows us to estimate the optimal sizing of an Electric Road System in France from economic, technical and societal points of view, by solving the tradeoff between the investment in the charging infrastructure and the size of batteries, to reach any point on the National territory. The optimal network depends upon which vehicles are able to use the infrastructure, and constitutes a final objective. ERS strongly shifts the costs from the vehicle owners to the infrastructure managers and requires checking whether each of those actors can make profit from this solution. A financing scheme must be found for the infrastructure manager, while the ERS remains attractive for the vehicle owner compared to other available solutions. Longer the ERS mileage, higher the attractiveness of the network. Thus, a financial organization of the ERS network on motorways and highways (2x2 lane main roads) is proposed, enabling to extend the size of the network and to significantly increase the number of beneficiaries. Cross financing between high-traffic and lower-traffic sections may increase the overall benefit of the network as a whole. Such financing scenarios are described in order to assess the feasibility to develop the infrastructure and its attractiveness for the users.
  • The social benefit of electric motorways in Sweden. .....Henrik Sällberg, BIT; and Maria Börjesson, VTI
  • Electrification of truck transport represents one possible pathway to curb emissions from road freight transport. This paper evaluates the social benefit of build-out of an electric motorway system, analyzing various technological functionalities of the electric road and vehicles. It also evaluates the social benefit of extending such a network to smaller motorways that connect the main ones. Using Sweden as the case, this study reports build-out of an electric motorway system for trucks to be of social benefit compared with continued use of diesel-only trucks. However, introducing battery only trucks, being charged statically, is found to be a better option both for main motorways and smaller ones. Inflection points for user charge levels, investment cost level for electric road, battery price levels, and utilization rate are reported on whereby the electric motorway system becomes the superior option.
  • Decarbonation as a service: An economic analysis of innovative shuttles for freight on highways. .....Martin Koning, Gustave Eiffel University; Lucie Letrouit, Gustave Eiffel University; Francois Combes, Gustave Eiffel University; and Anicet KABRE, ABT Associates
  • In the case of freight transport, even if the official objectives of modal shifts from roads towards railways or waterways were to be reached at the 2040 horizon, the vast majority of tonnages would still be moved by trucks and light-duty vehicles. In this context, this research proposes a socioeconomic analysis of one new service that may be proposed to carriers on French highways in a near future. Instead of moving the goods by their own, carriers could unload their shipments on logistic platforms located at the highway’s entrance where the parcels would be loaded on dedicated shuttles and moved by a service provider, before being reloaded onto carriers’ trucks. Whereas this new operational scheme would imply times losses due to transshipments, as well as the payment of tolls to use the shuttles, carriers would not be obliged to invest massively in decarbonized long-haul trucks and they could save resources on the regulatory break time of drivers. Using a simple microeconomic framework, we compute the usage toll of such a service - and we contrast the corresponding social welfare and GHG emissions - for three different settings: the private optimum (where the private company offering the service maximizes its profit), the collective first-best optimum (where a benevolent planner maximizes the social welfare) and the collective second-best optimum (where a benevolent planner determines the optimal subsidy given the pricing rule of the private company). These calculations are proposed for a wide range of trucks’ technologies, including two types of Electric Road Systems that vary in terms of network length and battery size.

  • Stef Proost, KU Leuve;
  • Henrik Sällberg, BIT;
  • Fabien Perdu, CEA;
  • Martin Koning, Gustave Eiffel University;
46. International Dimensions 2 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Friday | 1:00 am-2:30 am | Online: Virtual Room 2
  • Discounting and Its Discontents. .....Kenneth Watson, Australian National University
  • Some benefit-cost analyses require valuations of costs and benefits over long periods of time. In these cases, the calculated present value of a stream of benefits (or costs) can be very large when they occurred in the far past; and very small when they are expected to occur far in the future. Living persons seem to be given too much standing and future persons too little. This paper will consider five ways to respond to this sense of unease with the standard model of long-term discounting. These are: 1. Low discount rates by fiat and/or by artificially truncating the timeframe considered. 2. Subjective discount rates that are set high or low depending on one’s altruistic preferences. 3. Subjective discount rates that are set high or low (generally low or zero) for specific categories of benefits, most especially human life but also other “legacy” benefits. 4. Declining discount rates. There are some proponents, mostly European, of discount rates that decline stepwise in the future. There are none, to my knowledge, who propose increasing discount rates on cash flows further in the past, which implies a temporal inconsistency. 5. Consumption-adjusted discounting. Treating consumption as a terminal event, with those consumed benefits being counted at (real) prices but not treating them as if they were reinvested if in fact they are not. Of these five, only the last seems satisfactory, although it may feel uncomfortable involving, as it does, an analytic paradigm shift. Keywords: Discounting, benefit-cost analysis, long-term evaluation, inter-generational evaluation, legacy goods and present values.
  • The Impact of EU Pesticide Residue Standards on African Fresh Produce Exports to the UK. .....Paul Mwebaze, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign; Jim Monaghan, Harper Adams University; Martin Hare, Harper Adams University; and Brian Revell, Harper Adams University
  • This paper estimates the impacts of pesticide maximum residue level (MRL) standards imposed by the European Union (EU) on trade flows from African exporting countries to the United Kingdom (UK) using a fixed-effects gravity model specification for the period 1990-2021. Due to the stringent MRL standards, we also examine the risk of pest infestation on trade flows to the UK. We employ the Poison Pseudo Maximum Likelihood (PPML) estimation method to estimate the gravity model with corrections for the zero trade-flows. Most variables have the expected signs and were statistically significant, consistent with the trade literature. The volume of trade increases with the GDP of the exporting countries and the UK, and the volume of trade decreases with geographical distance. The variables describing the cultural and economic proximity of countries, such as colonial relationships, positively affect the volume of trade. Regarding the impact of MLRs on trade flows, the results were only partially consistent between the product groups. However, some commodities do exhibit sensitivity to changes in pesticide MRL standards imposed by the EU and hence applied in the UK. The elasticity of the UK’s imports of fresh produce from the selected exporting countries regarding chlorpyrifos MRL standards estimated in the previous regression was used to predict changes in export values of fresh produce under alternative standard-setting scenarios. The results indicate that if the UK were to adopt the CODEX international standards on spring onions and shallots, imports from the selected countries would have increased substantially by 202% over the period as a whole because the CODEX international standards of chlorpyrifos MRL on onions and shallots are less restrictive than the EU MRL standard. Egypt, S. Africa, and Kenya would gain the most from such a policy change in absolute monetary terms. Exports of onions would also increase from Morocco but by a smaller margin than these other countries. If the CODEX international standards for legumes were to have been adopted by the UK, then conversely, imports from Kenya, Zambia, Egypt, S. Africa, Morocco and Zimbabwe would have declined by 13.2% over the study period because the CODEX international standard of Chlorpyrifos on leguminous vegetables are much more restrictive than those of the EU. Kenyan exports would be significantly affected, declining by over £200 million during the study period.
  • Temperature exposure and the safety of U.S. railways. .....Xinming Du, National University of Singapore
  • How does temperature affect the safe functioning of railways? Rail thermal expansion and contraction are key considerations in rail design and construction; rail operators and rolling stock may likewise exhibit vulnerability to temperature changes. We quantify the sizes of these effects by leveraging a comprehensive dataset of railway malfunctions in the United States spanning 1997--2019. We find that both heat and cold cause elevated rates of railway malfunctions, with relatively larger increases in the number of incidents leading to a casualty as well as the number of injuries and deaths resulting from these incidents. We find that exposure to daily temperatures averaging over 30°C (86°F) leads to a 16% increase in the number of rail malfunctions, a 13% increase in the number of incidents leading to a casualty, and 18% and 36% increases injuries and deaths---effects net of any operational adjustments made to mitigate these effects. Further, while we also find that warmer locations exhibit a weaker relationship between heat and railway malfunctions, we find no evidence that companies are learning, year-over-year, how to reduce accidents. Finally, we note that effects of heat are strongest for derailments (versus other types of malfunctions) and freight trains (versus passenger trains). Our findings highlight the vulnerability of the railway system to the climate. The number of injuries and deaths associated with weather exposure---especially in comparison to operators' reported private costs of equipment failure---suggests a role for enhanced rail safety regulations and adaptation funding to protect critical heat-exposed infrastructure.
  • The Sydney Opera House at 50 reviewed – lessons for ex ante, in medias rea and ex post ex-post CBA.. .....Robert Smith, East Economics
  • The Sydney Opera House is a world heritage-listed architectural masterpiece and an Australian icon. A major tourist attraction, its silhouette graces souvenirs and is lit up and televised around the globe each New Year’s Eve. Most recently valued at $A6.2 billion (2023), the Opera House is also infamous for its troubled construction delays and budget blowout – it is the favourite cautionary tale of megaproject failure expert Brent Flyvberg. So, how would current Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) guidelines have treated the project, would they have favoured something less iconic? This paper applies modern criteria from current NSW Treasury CBA Guidelines to the Sydney Opera House (SOH) at the time of; the design competition 1955-7 (ex-ante); when the architect Jorn Utzon departs in 1966 and at the opening in 1973 (in medias rea); and after 50 years (ex ante). A range of historical comparisons for similar investment decisions is also provided as context. Issues covered include: • Key stages and decision points– the times when changes were possible and evaluations might now be expected. • Icon peers and like megaproject –– a brief survey of monuments (Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Statue of Liberty, Washington Monument, Christ the Redeemer), buildings (the Capital Building, the Palace of Westminster, Parliament House Canberra) and Centers for the Arts (La Scala and European Opera Houses, the Kennedy Center, the Disney Concert Hall, and the New York and Bilbao Guggenheim Museums). • Sydney’s older icons– local megaprojects the Town Hall, Queen Victoria Building, Garden Palace, Martin Place GPO, St Mary’s Cathedral and the “Con”. • 12 myths of the Sydney Opera House budget overrun. Particular attention is given to the application of the concepts of the referent group, benefits realisations, discount rate, opportunity cost and the role of uncertainty – recognizing that wisdom often only comes in hindsight and there are substantial challenges of re-evaluating informed decisions after their time.
47. Frontiers in Environment and Valuation [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Friday | 1:00 am-2:30 am | Online: Virtual Room 3
  • When Growth Stumbles, Pollute? Trade War and Environmental Enforcement. .....Xinming Du, National University of Singapore; and Lei Li, University of Mannheim
  • This paper studies the short-term trade-off between economic growth and environmental governance from the perspective of political incentives. In the context of international trade conflicts, we use the U.S.-China trade war as a natural experiment and find that higher U.S. tariffs worsen air quality in China. The city-level analysis shows that a 1% increase in the tariff burden leads to 0.9% and 0.7% increases in SO2 and PM2.5, respectively. Firm-level emission data generate similar results. Interestingly, the hourly monitor-level air quality data suggests that the pollution increases are concentrated at night. We hypothesize that the surprising findings can be largely attributed to the lenient environmental policies adopted by local governments when faced with the risks of economic downturn. We provide suggestive evidence that cities more exposed to the U.S. tariffs attach less emphasis on environmental regulations in local government reports and charge fewer fines on firms violating environmental regulations. Cities with native and older party secretaries and areas closer to province boundaries experience a less severe increase in pollution during the trade war. Our findings are relevant as China scrambles to maintain growth in the face of economic headwinds.
  • The value of urban green space: an application of experienced wellbeing measures to cost-wellbeing analysis. .....Conal Smith, Kotata Insight Ltd
  • The impact of urban design on wellbeing is an important policy issue. High house prices in New Zealand and across much of the developed world mean that there is a strong focus on urban redevelopment and on making better use of urban space through greater housing density. However, increases in the density of housing have the potential to impact negatively on the wellbeing of residents if not well designed. This paper uses cost-wellbeing analysis to estimate the non-market value of green space. In contrast to more traditional applications of cost-wellbeing analysis, a measure of experienced wellbeing is used to value the impact of green space rather than an evaluative measure such as overall life satisfaction. The use of an experienced wellbeing measure allows changes in respondent wellbeing to be linked directly to their current location – and hence exposure to green space – in a way that is not possible with evaluative measures of wellbeing. Estimates of the impact of a 1% increase in time spent in forested areas and the impact of a 100m decrease in mean distance to the nearest park on experienced wellbeing are estimated and the compensating surplus associated with each of these is derived.
  • Back to Edgeworth? Estimating the Value of Time Using Hedonic Experiences. .....Christian Krekel, London School of Economics; and George MacKerron, University of Sussex
  • Following early economist Francis Y. Edgeworth's proposal to measure people's hedonic experiences as they go about their daily lives, we use a smartphone app that over eight years randomly asked a panel of 30,936 UK residents (N=2,235,733) about their momentary feelings and activities to estimate the value of time (VOT), a key input into cost-benefit analyses. Exploiting the randomised timing of surveys for identification, we arrive at a VOT of GBP 12.2 (USD 15.3) per hour of waiting, GBP 8.4 (USD 10.5) per hour of commuting, and GBP 17.2 (USD 21.5) per hour of waiting during commuting (e.g. due to congestion). This resembles estimates from studies using revealed preferences, suggesting that using hedonic experiences leads to similar results as observed behaviour. Our unique data and method also allow us to estimate the VOT for 40 other daily activities as well as their interactions. We are the first to value time (or indeed anything) using hedonic experiences in real-time, which has the potential to value other intangibles too.
48. Energy / Environment 3 [Full Panel of Research Presentations]
Friday | 2:45 am-4:15 am | Online: Virtual Room 2
  • Effects of COVID-19 on Airport Renovation Project's Performance: the Pulkovo Case. .....Boris Lodiagin, HSE University; and Carlos Rincon, HSE University
  • The study addresses the question of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the effectiveness of airport renovation projects. It examines whether the economic and social outcomes and effects have changed or may change in the future due to the pandemic. This research uses the example of a large international airport renovation project of Pulkovo, St. Petersburg, Russia. Cost-Benefit Analysis and sensitivity analysis were employed to assess the extent to which the pandemic influenced the project's performance based on changes in the airport's financial performance indicators. The analysis uses data with and without accounting for the pandemic years (2020-2021). The social impact was defined as the cumulative effect on the private, public and government agents expressed in the form of social cash flows, following the Efficient Time Allocation and Generalized Cost of Travel approaches. As a result of the study, a decrease in the Social Net Present Value (NPV) of the entire airport and the renovation project itself (expressed by the incremental cash flows) was determined due to the pandemic's impact on passengers' traffic and the number of flight operations. Over the 30-year project horizon, the airport's Social NPV decreased by a factor of 3.1 times, and the renovation project's Social NPV decreased by 17.6 times. The Social Benefit-Cost Ratio (B/C) of the renovation project dropped from 4.06 to 1.33. Although the changes in the social indicators were dramatic, the renovation project remained profitable. The concessionaire adjusted its business processes, enabling substantial cost cutbacks despite declining revenues caused by adverse external effects from flight restrictions, and reduced passenger traffic. Moreover, although the benefits to the concessionaire dropped dramatically those dropped only marginally for society. This paper contributes to the literature by validating a standard methodology that can be further utilized to assess the pandemic's impact on renovation projects at other airports.
  • Forging a Green Trade Path: Evaluating the Substitution of Coal with Residual Wood Pellets using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA). .....Hemalatha Velappan, University of Washington
  • Fossil fuels, particularly coal, are major contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions, and Japan's post-Fukushima energy landscape has increasingly relied on coal, resulting in high per capita emissions. While Japan aims to enhance renewable energy capacity, coal remains dominant due to its cost-effectiveness. Wood pellets, derived from sustainable forest residues, present a cleaner alternative. Washington (WA) generates 2-3 million tons of forest residues annually, providing a resource for wood pellet production. Japan's goal of integrating biomass into its renewable energy mix, targeting 3.7-4.6% by 2030, necessitates substantial wood pellet imports, offering an opportunity for an export-oriented WA pellet industry. However, a comprehensive BCA including the environmental impacts is required to understand the true social benefit of such trade and no such study exists currently. This study aimed to fill this gap by using two powerful decision-making tools – LCA and BCA. For the LCA, various environmental impacts were calculated by estimating the emissions at every point throughout the pellet and coal supply chains. Further, various data from the literature, pellet manufacturers, and Japanese power producers regarding economic parameters were collected to design a BCA. The results show that replacing coal with WA wood pellets for electricity generation in Japan could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% and cut residual-burn-related PM2.5 pollution by 97%. A net positive social benefit of $11 billion over a decade was found with 51% certainty but a 0.8% or higher increase in electricity prices due to the fuel switch could reverse the social benefit. Further, through conversations with manufacturers, we found that a high initial investment cost, especially related to building port infrastructure, hinders the WA pellet manufacturers from entering the export-oriented pellet market. Therefore, policies improving the market entry for WA manufacturers and stabilizing the electricity price for Japanese users could yield overall benefits.
  • Urban tolls versus low traffic neighborhood: assessing equity and efficiency impacts of both policies applied to the Paris region. .....Rayane AL AMIRDACHE, Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées; Nicolas COulombel, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech; and Biao YIN, Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées
  • Many metropolises are trying to reduce the number of cars in their city centers, to alleviate congestion, reduce pollution, noise and accidents, and help with decarbonization objectives. Policies and measures to that effect are varied, among them urban toll and low traffic neighborhood. While both policies might achieve similar results in terms of greenhouse gas reduction and air quality improvement, they have different distributional impacts. We investigate in this paper the trade-off between equity and efficiency for urban toll and low traffic neighborhood policies. The methodology is applied to the Paris region, using the agent-based mobility model MATSIM. Efficiency is assessed using the official French cost-benefit analysis guidelines for transport policies, which includes the consumer surplus and the usual environmental externalities (GHG, air pollutants). Equity is evaluated by disaggregating the consumer surplus between socio-demographic groups, and using the Gini index to measure policies progressivity and costs inequalities. We consider monetary, time and pollution costs borne by individuals separately and jointly in order to demonstrate the existence of compensation effects. Results show that both policies are almost equally efficient on CO2 emission and air pollution reduction. However, the low traffic neighborhood, resulting in huge travel time increase, has a negative overall welfare impact. Although it is less regressive in term of monetary costs, it presents wide inequalities in travel time increase between geographical areas. Urban toll reduces total travel time, but imposes additional monetary costs on households, unevenly distributed between departments. These tolls, collected by the government, leads to a positive overall welfare impact. Imposing an urban toll can be more equal if the collected tolls are redistributed to households in need or redirected to transit improvement serving those most affected by the policy.
  • Renewable Energy Support Through Feed-in Tariffs: A Retrospective Stakeholder Analysis. .....Majid Hashemi, Queen's University; Glenn Jenkins, Queen's University; and Frank Milne, Queen's University
  • This study develops a generalized evaluation framework that can be used to quantify the financial, economic, stakeholder, and environmental impacts of renewable energy support programs. The application of this framework is demonstrated by evaluating the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program for solar distributed energy resources (DER) in Ontario, Canada. Our analysis reveals that although Ontario’s FIT program has successfully promoted the adoption of solar DER across communities, considering all the criteria of cost-benefit analysis, including optimal timing, economic resource efficiency, environmental cost-effectiveness, and distributional impacts, this policy has been a complete failure. The program has led to a significant cross-subsidization from program non-participants to participants and losses to the Canadian economy in return for insignificant environmental benefits. The losses would have been reduced by approximately 50 percent if the program had been delayed and implemented in 2016 instead of 2010. The lessons from this analysis provide insights for designing future policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
49. Andres Gomez-Lobo: Benefit-Cost Analysis in the Chilean PPP Infrastructure Program [Plenary]
Friday | 9:00 am-10:30 am | Online: Virtual Room 1

Index to Participants

Abbott, Linda: 16
Acland, Dan: 25
Adamowicz, Vic: 9 , 18 , 21 , 24 , 37
Adler, Matthew: 40
Ahn, Sorin: 34
AL AMIRDACHE, Rayane: 48
Alpizar, Francisco: 9 , 21
Amador Morera, Francisco Javier: 17
Amuakwa-Mensah, Franklin: 9 , 21
Ananat, Elizabeth: 33
Andersson, Henrik: 17 , 39
Ashworth, Madison: 39
Atkinson, Giles: 41
Bahn, Rachel: 20
Balukas, Jessica: 34
Batabyal, Amit: 41
Batista-Lin, Webster: 11
Baxter, Jennifer: 11 , 14
Beauregard, Pierre-Loup: 5
Belova, Anna: 37
Bennear, Lori: 31
Berrens, Robert: 12
Besedin, Elena: 34
Bin, Okmyung: 18
Bishop, Sarah: 23
Blomquist, Glenn: 14 , 43
Bloom, David: 33
Borja-Vega, Christian: 10
Börjesson, Maria: 45
Bowen, Derick: 23
Box-Couillard, Sebastien: 24
Brander, Luke M.: 12
Brent, Robert J: 33
Briseño, Fernando: 39
Bromberg, Kevin: 7
brunel, julien: 42
Bueno, Gorka: 17
Buresch, Jasmina: 10
Caner, Asena: 39
Cardenas, Helena: 9
Carrer, Luisa: 5
Carrigan, Christopher: 30
Carson, Richard: 21
Carson, Richard: 9
Cecot, Caroline: 13 , 29
Chilton, Susan: 37
Cho, Hyun Soo: 34
Choma, Ernani: 17
Collyer, Sophie: 33
Combes, Francois: 45
Contu, Davide: 41
Cook, Joe: 34
Cordes, Joseph: 14
Cornicelli, Louis: 34
Cotton, Christopher: 20
COulombel, Nicolas: 17 , 48
Cramer, Robert: 3
Czajkowski, Mikołaj: 39
Daniel, Smith: 4
De Salvo, Maria: 12
DeAngeli, Emma: 6
Despero, Stephanie: 16
Dillon-Merrill, Robin: 11
Du, Xinming: 46 , 47
Du, Xuzhi: 38
Dudley, Susan: 30
Dupont, Dianne: 24
Durbin, Erik: 30
Duxbury, Darren: 37
Farrow, Scott: 14 , 25 , 32
Febrizio, Mark: 7 , 10
Ferranna, Maddalena: 33 , 40
Fiestas Flores, Jerico: 37
Filippini, Massimo: 11
Florio, Massimo: 9
Fuente, David: 34
GANG, Mi Rang: 21
Garfinkel, Irwin: 33
Gemmill, Janet M.: 27
Gendreau, Evan: 18
Gentry, Elissa: 3 , 13
Georgiou, Stavros: 41
Gerber, Dominik: 43
Ginbo, Tsegaye: 18
Giuffrida, Laura: 12
Gledhill, Jonathan: 18
Gogic, Kristina: 42
GRIMAL, Richard: 42 , 45
Guan, Kaiyu: 38
Gunawardena, Amritha: 41
Gupta, Disha: 38
Guseva, Yuliya: 27
Hahn, Robert: 29
Hanemann, Michael: 9 , 21
Hare, Martin: 46
Hartley, Robert: 33
Hartnett, Michael: 33
Hashemi, Majid: 48
Hauer, Matthew: 10
Hernandez-Cortes, Danae: 6
Higgins, Jeffrey: 28
Horn, Jeffrey: 29
Howard, Gregory: 12 , 34
Hoyos, David: 17
Hsu, Lawrence: 3
Hu, Wuyang: 12
Imamoglu, Eslem: 29
Iriscenko, Maria: 43
Ivanova, Ksenija: 43
Jamilkowski, Mike “Jammer”: 28
Jänese, Jürgen: 43
Jenkins, Glenn: 48
Jenkins, Glenn: 18
Jensen, Kirsten: 38
Jia, Menqgi: 38
Jin, Zhenjie: 9
Johnson, David: 39
Johnston, Rob: 34
Jones, Jason: 10
Joseph, Troy: 5
KABRE, Anicet: 45
Kashi, Bahman: 20
Keeler, Bonnie: 6
Kenkel, Don: 31 , 39
Khanna, Madhu: 38
Khanna, Neha: 6
Kiesel, André: 37
Kim, Youngho: 35
King, Heidi: 22
Kniesner, Thomas: 4
Köhlin, Gunnar: 9 , 21
Koning, Martin: 45
Kortazar, Andoni: 17
Koutavas, Anastasia: 33
Krekel, Christian: 40 , 47
Krutilla, Kerry: 22
Kwack, Min Jin: 34
Kweon, Young-Jun: 18
Kymn, Christine: 30
LaPenta, Matthew: 22 , 28
Lazo, Jeffrey: 28
Le, Alyssa: 34
Lee, DK: 38
Letrouit, Lucie: 45
Li, Lei: 47
Liao, Yanjun (Penny): 6
Linn, Joshua: 31
Liu, Shilei: 28
Liu, Yiqing: 12
Lloyd-Smith, Patrick: 18
Lodiagin, Boris: 48
Lopez-Feldman, Alejandro: 21
Lubar, David: 28
Lublóy, Ágnes: 43
Lupi, Frank: 6
MacKerron, George: 47
Macknick, Jordan: 38
Madsen, Peter: 11
Majeed, Fahd: 38
Malik, Manya: 33
Mancini, Dom: 7
Marasteanu, Ioana (Julia): 27
Mariathasan, Marin Rachel: 41
Masatsugu, Lauren: 22
massiani, jerome: 42
Mathios, Alan: 39
McCall, James: 38
McGartland, Al: 30
Merker, Jonathan: 4
Miao, Ruiqing: 38
Milchman, Sarah: 16
Miljkovic, Nenad: 38
Milne, Frank: 48
Mitchell, David: 31
Mohebbi, Mehri: 6
Monaghan, Jim: 46
Montpetit, Sébastien: 5
Moore, Rob: 33
Mourato, Susana: 41
Munson, Kate: 37
Mussio, Irene: 37
Mwebaze, Paul: 38 , 46
Nadeau, Kari: 17
Nienow, Sara: 4
Nyberg, Erik: 17
O'Connor, Alan: 4
Olofinsao, Oluwatosin: 12
Paalzow, Anders: 43
Pandya, Ankur: 40
Paulik, Ryan: 6
Peng, Bin: 38
Penn, Jerrod: 12
Perdu, Fabien: 45
Perez, Javier: 18
Petosa, Jeremy: 29
Pizer, Billy: 14
Poinsot, Philippe: 17
Pokharel, Trilochan: 21
Price, James: 24
Proost, Stef: 45
Pugliese, Andrew: 16
Qi, Jinlei: 28
quinet, alain: 42
QUINET, Emile: 38
Quinet, Emile: 42
Raftery, Adrian: 10
Raut, Nirmal Kumar: 11
Raynal, Marc: 45
Reeder, Paul: 5
Rennert, Kevin: 10
Representative, Agency: 19
Representative, Agency: 19
Representative, Agency: 19
Revell, Brian: 46
Rich, Jacob: 28
Rincon, Carlos: 48
Risa Hole, Arne: 39
Robb, Zachary: 20
Robertson, Thomas: 6
Robinson, Lisa: 7 , 17 , 25 , 31 , 40
Safar, Kyra: 20
Sällberg, Henrik: 45
Schoonover, Sydney: 35
Sevcikova, Hana: 10
Sevilla, JP: 33 , 40
Shapiro, Stuart: 32
Sharma, Smriti: 37
Shaw, Brooke: 4
Sheahan, Megan: 11
Shrader, Jeffrey: 19 , 25
Siagian, Harris: 3
Signorello, Giovanni: 12
Sinha, Saumitra: 34
Slopen, Meredith: 33
Smith, Conal: 47
Smith, Robert: 46
Solow, Andrew: 32
Sotis, Chiara: 41
Spiller, Beia: 6
Srinivasan, Suchita: 11
Stawasz, Andrew: 32
Sterner, Thomas: 9 , 21
Strassburger, Monique: 20
Sullivan, Mary: 30
Szott, Aaron: 23
Tarı Kasnakoğlu, Berna: 39
Tezekici, Gökçen Begüm: 39
Thompson, Robin: 39
Thornton, Craig: 7
Tsui, Flora: 16
Turan, Belgi: 39
Vārpina, Zane: 43
Velappan, Hemalatha: 48
Venugopal, Sandya: 27
Villar, Dan: 29
Viscusi, Kip: 3 , 4 , 14 , 35
von Haefen, Roger: 12
Walls, Margaret: 6
Walsh, Amanda: 4
Walsh, Patrick: 6
Wang, Buyi: 33
Wang, Jingjing: 12
Warren, Natalie: 6
Watkins, Benjamin: 11
Watson, Kenneth: 46
Wear, David: 10
Wegener, Steven: 9
Whitehead, John: 6 , 12 , 34
Whittington, Dale: 9 , 21 , 34
Wiener, Jonathan: 7 , 13
Wimer, Christopher: 33
Wingenroth, Jordan: 10
Wolverton, Ann: 31
Wood, Spencer: 6
Wright, David: 22
Xu, Jintao: 9 , 28
Xuan, Liyuan: 18
Yanin, Dmitry: 43
Yi, Samantha: 25
Yi, Yuanyuan: 9 , 28
Yiğit, Yenal Can: 39
YIN, Biao: 48
Yin, Peng: 28
Zawadzki, Wojciech: 39
Žēpers, Lauris: 43
Zerbe, Richard: 4
Zhang, Fengyuan: 35
Zhang, Guangli: 5
Zhou, Maigeng: 28