Saturday, November 6, 2010

APPAM Panel: Cost-Benefit Analysis and Values

Bardach (Berkley) -- What does policy analysis have to say about Community Identity issues? -- public art, memorials, rituals, place names, "official" animals etc, policy issues to answer the questions "who are we?" and "What do we stand for?" (aside from 'tolerance'). Policy analysis should have nothing to say about "what are our values?" Tolerance and civility are not necessarily the same thing. The majority behaves on the basis of tolerance, but the minority should behave toward gift givers with civility. Don't push too far. Policy analysis could help in crafting not compromise, but ameliorative deals that make the losing side less aggrieved. Partial privatization, parallel symbolism, play off of ambiguity (Vietnam Veterans Memorial - it's about the fallen rather than the war), not all or nothing.

Andrews, Hay, Myers -- Can Governance Indicators be fair and effective? Wants to focus on specific outcomes rather than processes (compare under 5 mortality rate to cost). Wants to only compare within their income group (US does worse than average and spends a lot of money doing so). Putting together deviation from the mean in outcome and cost shows a very different picture. Rather than high income = good governance, there are effective and ineffective governments in all income brackets. Do certain models of service delivery work better in various income contexts?

Discussant -- The issue is that the US tries to save every infant and goes to extreme lengths to do so. It's not a governance or technical problem, but a moral question.

Mendeloff (Pittsburgh) -- Cost of lives saved from regulation. Over time, do standards save fewer lives at higher cost? In the 60s when it was started, it cost about $300,000 to prevent fatality equivalents. Cost increased from $200-500k to $1900-6300k now. Doubled 1974-1990, 1990-2000. Much of the cost is in resolving legal challenges.

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