Cost-benefit analysis is the primary technique used by regulators in the United States and around the world to evaluate and defend the rationality of existing and proposed regulations in fields as diverse as finance, the environment, health care, and transportation. Cost-benefit analysis is sometimes championed as a check on arbitrary regulatory action, but elsewhere derided as a methodology that favors certain special interests.
This year-long seminar will explore the use of cost-benefit analysis in administrative processes in the United States. Students will learn about current and proposed legal requirements for cost-benefit analysis. Students will also have the opportunity to examine the actual methods used to conduct costbenefit analysis as taught in graduate programs for public policy and as used in recent regulatory filings. The purpose of this course is to provide participants a broad conceptual understanding of costbenefit analysis and then to apply that understanding to individual research topics.
The seminar will meet throughout the academic year, with ten 90 minute sessions in the Fall 2017 semester and the balance of meetings in the Spring 2018 semester, mostly after Spring Break. No particular background in law, mathematics, or economics will be presumed by the instructors and students from elsewhere in the University are welcome to participate.