Advancing Cost-Benefit Analysis

Advancing the Quality of Cost-Benefit Analysis for Justice Programs


Vera Institute of Justice, 2014


Carl Matthies

[The Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank's] new white paper, Advancing the Quality of Cost-Benefit Analysis for Justice Programs, was developed to help guide analysts through the methodological challenges of conducting justice-related CBAs, such as: Selecting perspectives to include in justice-related CBAs; Predicting and measuring the impacts of justice programs and policies; Monetizing (placing dollar values on) those initiatives; Dealing with uncertainty; and Making cost-benefit studies clearer and more accessible.

The paper also includes a set of principles for conducting justice-related CBAs, a review of various evaluation methods, descriptions of the methods used to measure victim costs, several justice-specific examples and illustrations, a glossary, and references.

This paper is intended for anyone who conducts, plans to conduct, or wants to learn how to conduct cost-benefit studies of justice-related policies or programs. This includes researchers; evaluators; legislative, policy, budget, and fiscal analysts; criminologists; and those in similar or related professions. The paper gives advice and recommendations, and provides information readers may use to weigh methodological options, given that not all issues pertaining to CBA in criminal justice have clear right or wrong answers.

You can access this resource online here.