Reference Case Guidelines for Benefit-Cost Analysis in Global Health and Development

126 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2022

See all articles by Lisa A. Robinson

Lisa A. Robinson

Harvard University, Center for Health Decision Science; Harvard University, Center for Risk Analysis

James K. Hammitt

Harvard University

Michele Cecchini

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

Kalipso Chalkidou

Center for Global Development

Karl Claxton

University of York (UK) - Department of Economics and Related Studies

Maureen Cropper

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; Resources for the Future

Patrick Hoang-Vu Eozenou

World Bank - Health, Nutrition and Population

David de Ferranti

Results for Development

Anil B. Deolalikar

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Economics

Frederico Campos Guanais de Aguiar

Inter-American Development Bank

Dean T. Jamison

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) - Institute for Global Health Sciences

Soonman Kwon

Seoul National University

Jeremy Addison Lauer

University of Strathclyde; United Health Futures

Lucy O'Keeffe

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Damian Walker

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Global Development Program

Dale Whittington

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering

Thomas Wilkinson

University of Cape Town (UCT)

David Wilson

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Global Development Program

Brad Wong

University of Copenhagen - Copenhagen University

Date Written: May 1, 2019

Abstract

Benefit-cost analysis and other forms of economic evaluation are powerful tools, encouraging the systematic collection and assessment of the evidence needed to support sound policy decisions. In low-and middle-income countries, where resources are very scarce and needs are very great, such decisions are particularly difficult and economic evaluation can be especially useful. If not well conducted and clearly reported, however, these studies can lead to erroneous conclusions. Differences in analytic methods and assumptions can also obscure important differences in policy impacts.

Recognizing these challenges, a team of experts developed reference case guidelines to increase the comparability of benefit-cost analyses, improve their quality, and expand their use. The development process involved extensive participation from stakeholders as well as experts, including both practitioners and consumers, incorporating a variety of perspectives. The resulting guidelines provide an overview of the analytic framework, including its conceptual underpinnings and its implementation. They also provide specific recommendations in seven areas: (a) comparing values across countries and over time; (2) valuing mortality risk reductions; (3) valuing nonfatal health risk reductions; (4) valuing changes in time use; (5) assessing the distribution of impacts; (6) accounting for uncertainty and nonquantifiable impacts; and (7) summarizing and presenting the results. The goal is to support the conduct of high-quality analyses that promote understanding of difficult trade-offs and support evidence-based decisions.

Keywords: benefit-cost analysis, cost-benefit analysis, low- and middle-income countries, value per statistical life (VSL), willingness to pay, distribution

JEL Classification: D61, D63, H43, Q51

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Lisa A. and Hammitt, James K. and Cecchini, Michele and Chalkidou, Kalipso and Claxton, Karl and Cropper, Maureen L. and Eozenou, Patrick and de Ferranti, David and Deolalikar, Anil B. and Campos Guanais de Aguiar, Frederico and Jamison, Dean T. and Kwon, Soonman and Lauer, Jeremy Addison and O'Keeffe, Lucy and Walker, Damian and Whittington, Dale and Wilkinson, Thomas and Wilson, David and Wong, Brad, Reference Case Guidelines for Benefit-Cost Analysis in Global Health and Development (May 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4015886 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4015886

Lisa A. Robinson (Contact Author)

Harvard University, Center for Health Decision Science ( email )

718 Huntington Avenue
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/lisa-robinson/

Harvard University, Center for Risk Analysis ( email )

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
718 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/lisa-robinson/

James K. Hammitt

Harvard University ( email )

718 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-432-4343 (Phone)
617-432-0190 (Fax)

Michele Cecchini

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris Cedex 16, 75775
France

Kalipso Chalkidou

Center for Global Development

2055 L St. NW
5th floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Karl Claxton

University of York (UK) - Department of Economics and Related Studies ( email )

Heslington
York, YO1 5DD
United Kingdom

Maureen L. Cropper

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Patrick Eozenou

World Bank - Health, Nutrition and Population ( email )

United States

David De Ferranti

Results for Development

1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1210
Washington, DC 20009
United States

Anil B. Deolalikar

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Economics ( email )

900 University Avenue
4136 Sproul Hall
Riverside, CA 92521
United States

Frederico Campos Guanais de Aguiar

Inter-American Development Bank

1300 New York Av NW
Washington, DC
United States

Dean T. Jamison

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) - Institute for Global Health Sciences ( email )

550 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94158
United States

Soonman Kwon

Seoul National University

Kwanak-gu
Seoul, 151-742
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Jeremy Addison Lauer

University of Strathclyde

16 Richmond Street
Glasgow, G1 1XQ
United Kingdom

United Health Futures ( email )

Rue Kléberg 25
Geneva, Geneva 1201
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.uhf.ch

Lucy O'Keeffe

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

718 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
6174322013 (Phone)

Damian Walker

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Global Development Program

United States

Dale Whittington

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering ( email )

United States
919-966-7645 (Phone)

Thomas Wilkinson

University of Cape Town (UCT)

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, Western Cape 7701
South Africa

David Wilson

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Global Development Program

United States

Brad Wong

University of Copenhagen - Copenhagen University

studiestraede 6
copenhagen, 1455
Denmark

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