James Hammitt was a keynote speaker at the first European conference of the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis, held at the Toulouse School of Economics (France). His presentation, ‘Accounting for the distribution of benefits and costs in benefit-cost analysis,’ acknowledged the legitimacy of the complaint that, by measuring the benefits and harms to individuals in monetary units, conventional benefit-cost analysis (BCA) violates common norms of equity, such as treating people identically, independent of their wealth. He described alternatives to the conventional approach that are more consistent with prevailing norms, including weighted BCA and social welfare functions.
The Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis was established more than 10 years ago with the aim of stimulating more and better use of BCA in public-policy decisions together with academic research to improve BCA methods. The SBCA has held annual conferences each year in Washington, D.C. and attracts participants from the U.S. federal and other governments, universities, research institutes, and consultancies. The Toulouse meeting was organized by Henrik Andersson (Toulouse School of Economics), who has on two occasions spent a year as a visiting researcher at CHDS.
Learn more: Read about Benefit Cost Analysis