Six principles to help you with cost-benefit analysis

by , March 12, 2014

Last week we announced the release of a new CBKB white paper, Advancing the Quality of Cost-Benefit Analysis for Justice Programs. Analysts, researchers, analysts, and criminologists will find useful information about cost-benefit analysis (CBA) methods, evaluation techniques, and justice-specific applications of this technique.

Even if you don’t plan to dive into the details, take a look at these six principles that serve as the paper’s foundation:

  1. Cost-benefit analysis is a decision tool, not a decision rule.


10 cost-benefit analysis resources for journalists

by , November 6, 2013

Note: In April 2014 we published the white paper Using Cost-Benefit Analysis for Justice Policymaking. It is intended for a diverse audience, including journalists; elected officials and their staff; policymakers; people who work in adult or juvenile justice systems; and service providers.

When you’re reporting or writing about a cost-benefit study, it’s your job to extract the most important findings and decipher them for your audience, a group that’s probably not made up of analysts and economists.


Three common mistakes reporters make about cost-benefit analysis

by , October 31, 2013

Writing about cost-benefit analysis is hard. Writing or reporting about it on deadline is even harder. How do you tease out a study’s most important findings to tell a story your audience will care about and grasp?

For starters, here are three mistakes to avoid when reporting on cost-benefit results:

  1. Don’t equate benefits and savings.


April focus: Justice cost-benefit analyses on our radar screen

by , April 16, 2012

We’re always on the lookout for new publications about cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and criminal justice. Here are a few recent CBAs of note:

Juneau County Diversion Program: A Benefit-Cost Analysis
In January, a group of graduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison under the guidance of Professor David Weimer published a CBA of the Juneau County (WI) Diversion Program.


March focus: Misperceptions about cost-benefit analysis

by , March 14, 2012

This month we’ll feature a series of blog posts addressing misperceptions about cost-benefit analysis (CBA). On the blog, in the CBA toolkit, and in other materials, we’ve written about some concepts that frequently confuse people or are commonly misunderstood, such as:


Reporting the Results of Cost-Benefit Analysis

by , August 1, 2011

Cost-benefit analysts typically use one of several metrics—or a combination of them—to report their findings. The benefit-cost ratio, return on investment, and net present value report the results of a cost-benefit analysis by comparing discounted costs with discounted benefits. This document briefly describes each metric, the information it conveys, and its advantages for reporting cost-benefit findings.