Benefit-cost analyses hold great promise for influencing policies related to children, youth, and families, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine National Academy of Sciences. The report asserts that by comparing the costs of preventative interventions with the long-term benefits, benefit-cost analysis provides a tool for determining what kinds of investments have the greatest potential to reduce the physical, psychological, and behavioral health problems of children, youth, and families. However, the utility of benefit-cost analyses has been limited by a lack of uniformity in the methods and assumptions underlying these studies. The report puts forth recommendations for how researchers can establish standards for reporting and data sharing to further the field.

Policy Research, The Power of Measuring Social Benefits, Policy, Research