Journal of Benefit Cost-Analysis Editors Glenn C. Blomquist and William H. Hoyt answer our questions…

For anyone new to the Journal of Benefit Cost-Analysis please can you provide us with a brief overview of the title?

The Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis (SBCA) is a rapidly growing international organization, dedicated to the advancement and exchange of ideas relating to benefit-cost analysis (BCA). The JBCA is the professional journal of the SBCA. The JBCA is a catalyst for developing and furthering the practice of BCA. The JBCA focuses on the theory and practice of benefit-cost analysis and related economic evaluation methods. In addition, we publish completed benefit-cost analyses ensuring that these analyses are carefully peer-reviewed and widely-disseminated. The JBCA’s overall goal is to encourage the conduct of rigorous, high quality analysis and its use in policy decisions, ultimately improving social welfare.

What makes JBCA stand out from other titles in the field?

Benefit-cost analysis is the leading evidence-based analytical method devoted to determining whether the consequences of specific public actions make society better off overall. The JBCA is the only journal devoted exclusively to benefit-cost analysis. The JBCA is committed to encouraging and publishing theory, empirical analyses, case studies, and techniques surrounding this methodology. Applications address all policy areas, such as programs and policies related to education, crime, health, poverty, labor and housing as well as regulations and projects related to the environment, natural resources, transportation, safety, and security. The interdisciplinary nature of the JBCA, with contributors from a wide range of disciplines and areas of public policy, is unique. While the JBCA is a scholarly journal, its audience is composed of more than academics. The JBCA takes seriously its mission to expand and promote the use of state-of-the art BCA by individuals and groups who make public policy decisions, those who advise them, and those who implement the policies. By serving as a bridge between the scholars and the analysts who advise policymakers, the JBCA serves an important role that other journals rarely provide.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently covered the JBCA special issue on ‘Perspectives on Implementing Benefit-Cost Analysis in Climate Assessment’. What made this issue significant?

Climate change presents an enormous challenge to decision makers because of uncertainty, a period of analysis that spans generations, and its global scope. The potential benefits and costs are high. The JBCA special issue is significant because the articles focus on the frontiers of ongoing research applying BCA to climate change policies and the challenges that economists face in adapting BCA techniques to respond to growing demand for economic assessment. Incorporating the economics of adaptation at the local and global levels is one of the challenges. The articles focus on the state of key bodies of literature and on the challenges in the context of the BCA framework. The articles also explore how economic analysis itself contributes to broader analytical and decision-making frameworks than conventional BCA methods.

What key articles can we look forward to from Journal of Benefit Cost-Analysis in the coming volumes? Do you have plans for future themes issues?

The Summer 2015 issue will have the keynote address by Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis President Kip Viscusi, “Pricing Lives for Government and Corporate Risk Decisions.” Fall 2015 will see a collection of articles on social programs targeted to benefit young children and youths. A symposium on “[Ir]rationality, Happiness, and Benefit-Cost Analysis” is in the works for next year. These things are planned to appear along with a collection of fine articles on a variety of topics related to BCA. Topics include the energy efficiency gap, job impacts of environmental regulation, and challenges of BCA in the planning process.

The new cover has been very well received, do you envisage any additional changes to the journal under your editorship?

Development and use of benefit-cost analysis is happening around the globe. The JBCA already publishes articles by authors who work in various countries, but we envisage becoming even more international. Our Editorial Board will expand to facilitate that more encompassing scope.

Explore the inaugural Cambridge issue of JBCA here with free access during 2015. The issue has articles by distinguished scholars who cover the social discount rate, dealing with ignorance, uncertainty in regulation, regulation-induced impacts on jobs, and anti-smoking policies. The issue includes a symposium on BCA when willingness to accept and willingness to pay differ and when findings from behavioral economics matter.

You can also visit the JBCA homepage here.

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