New Report Finds Cost-Benefit Analyses Improve Budget Choices & Taxpayer Results

Press Release: “A new report shows cost-benefit analyses have helped states make better investments of public dollars by identifying programs and policies that deliver high returns. However, the majority of states are not yet consistently using this approach when making critical decisions. This 50-state look at cost-benefit analysis, a method that compares the expense of public programs to the returns they deliver, was released today by the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The study, “States’ Use of Cost-benefit Analysis: Improving Results for Taxpayers”, comes at a time when states are under continuing pressure to direct limited dollars toward the most cost-effective programs and policies while curbing spending on those that do not deliver. The report is the first comprehensive study of how all 50 states and the District of Columbia analyze the costs and benefits of programs and policies, report findings, and incorporate the assessments into decision-making. It identifies key challenges states face in conducting and using the analyses and offers strategies to overcome those obstacles. The study includes a review of state statutes, a search for cost benefit analyses released between 2008 and 2011, and interviews with legislators, legislative and program evaluation staff, executive officials, report authors, and agency officials.”