Structured Expert Judgment for Informing the Return on Investment in Surveillance: The Case of Environmental Public Health Tracking

28 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2016

See all articles by Abigail Colson

Abigail Colson

Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy; Department of Management Science, University of Strathclyde

Mark A. Cohen

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics; Vanderbilt University - Law School; Resources for the Future

Sudha Regmi

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP)

Arindam Nandi

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP)

Ramanan Laxminarayan

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP); Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy; Princeton University

Molly K. Macauley

Resources for the Future

Date Written: December 15, 2015

Abstract

We use the classical model of structured expert judgment to examine the return on investment (ROI) in a health surveillance network. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Environmental Public Health Tracking Program (Tracking Program) in 2002 to collect available data to better understand the link between health and the environment. The Tracking Program’s annual budget is $25 million, but little is known about the value of its potential benefits. Past evaluations of the Tracking Program have focused on its ability to meet its own goals rather than on broader impact. This study is the first quantitative assessment of the ROI of the Tracking Program. We make novel use of structured expert judgment to establish a counterfactual allowing us to examine the program’s impact. We then link the estimated impact to existing literature on the economic benefits associated with the improved indicators. We estimate that the Tracking Program may have yielded between $5.22 billion to $17.1 billion in societal benefits in 2011, with $6.24 billion estimated by the optimized combination of experts. The estimates have a wide range of uncertainty, but these amounts are significantly greater than the annual $25 million cost of the program.

Keywords: structured expert judgment, environmental public health tracking, value of information

JEL Classification: I12, I18

Suggested Citation

Colson, Abigail and Cohen, Mark A. and Regmi, Sudha and Nandi, Arindam and Laxminarayan, Ramanan and Macauley, Molly K., Structured Expert Judgment for Informing the Return on Investment in Surveillance: The Case of Environmental Public Health Tracking (December 15, 2015). Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 2704189. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2704189 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2704189

Abigail Colson (Contact Author)

Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy ( email )

1616 P St NW
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Department of Management Science, University of Strathclyde ( email )

Graham Hills Building, 40 George Street
Glasgow G4 0LN
United Kingdom

Mark A. Cohen

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-0533 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://business.vanderbilt.edu/bio/mark-cohen/

Vanderbilt University - Law School

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
202-328-5000 (Phone)

Sudha Regmi

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP)

1616 P St NW
Suite 600
Washington DC, DC 20036
United States

Arindam Nandi

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) ( email )

1400 Eye St NW
Ste 500
Washington DC, DC 20005
United States

Ramanan Laxminarayan

The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) ( email )

1616 P St NW
Suite 600
Washington DC, DC 20036
United States

Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.cddep.org

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Molly K. Macauley

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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