Benefit-cost analysis is a well-established and widely used approach
for systematically assessing the impacts of environmental, health, and
safety policies and informing decisions. It is often a required
component of the policy development process followed by many government
agencies and organizations around the world.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, benefit-cost analysis has received
unprecedented attention by playing an important role in highlighting key
trade-offs and informing response efforts and related policies.
However, this attention has highlighted confusion about the overall
framework, its advantages and limitations, and the approaches used to
value mortality risk reductions, commonly referred to as the value per
statistical life (VSL). Understanding the appropriate use of
benefit-cost analysis and its implications is crucial given the
importance of promoting evidence-based decisions as we begin to emerge
from the epidemic and face many other crucial policy challenges.
In this short online program, Lisa A. Robinson, a leading Harvard
expert on benefit-cost analysis, will aid you in understanding the
benefit-cost analysis framework and its application globally. You will
learn the methods used for valuing changes in health and longevity, the
values recommended for use in high-, middle-, and low-income settings,
and the implications of the results. Through interactive presentations,
case studies, extensive discussion, and optional office hours, you will
develop a deeper understanding of these approaches and of their
You will leave this program understanding the advantages and
limitations of benefit-cost analysis, improving your ability to
evaluate, interpret, and use the results.