IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/uwp/landec/v85y2009i1p3-23.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Objective or Multi-Objective? Two Historically Competing Visions for Benefit-Cost Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • H. Spencer Banzhaf

Abstract

As they embraced benefit-cost analysis during the mid twentieth century, economists faced several challenges. One challenge was to reconcile two visions for the place of the economist in policy analysis, one limited to providing positive analysis for decision-makers, the other allowing normative judgments. This tension came to a crisis when, in the 1960s, the Water Resources Council introduced multi-objective benefit-cost analysis. The surrounding debate highlights the way philosophical differences can drive the technical details of policy analysis, the way political debates can overshadow academic ones, and the way even social scientists in a narrow subfield can profoundly misunderstand one another.

Suggested Citation

  • H. Spencer Banzhaf, 2009. "Objective or Multi-Objective? Two Historically Competing Visions for Benefit-Cost Analysis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 85(1), pages 3-23.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:85:y:2009:i:1:p:3-23
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://le.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/85/1/3
    Download Restriction: A subscripton is required to access pdf files. Pay per article is available.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Daniel W. Bromley & Bruce R. Beattie, 1973. "On the Incongruity of Program Objectives and Project Evaluation: An Example from the Reclamation Program," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 55(3), pages 472-476.
    2. Harberger, Arnold C, 1971. "Three Basic Postulates for Applied Welfare Economics: An Interpretive Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 785-797, September.
    3. Gary D. Cobb, 1973. "Evolving Water Policies in the United States," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 55(5), pages 1003-1007.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. History of policy evaluation: a few questions
      by Beatrice Cherrier in History of Economics Playground on 2015-02-05 21:26:43

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:pubcho:v:172:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0410-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. H. Spencer Banzhaf, 2014. "Retrospectives: The Cold-War Origins of the Value of Statistical Life," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 213-226, Fall.
    3. Stuart D. Allen & Stephen K. Layson & Albert N. Link, 2013. "Public gains from entrepreneurial research: Inferences about the economic value of public support of the Small Business Innovation Research program," Chapters,in: Public Support of Innovation in Entrepreneurial Firms, chapter 6, pages 105-112 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Aldred, Jonathan, 2013. "Justifying precautionary policies: Incommensurability and uncertainty," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 132-140.
    5. Gregory Garner & Patrick Reed & Klaus Keller, 2016. "Climate risk management requires explicit representation of societal trade-offs," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 134(4), pages 713-723, February.
    6. Jaeger, William K. & Egelkraut, Thorsten M., 2011. "Biofuel economics in a setting of multiple objectives and unintended consequences," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(9), pages 4320-4333.
    7. Roger E. Backhouse & Beatrice Cherrier, 2014. "Becoming Applied: The Transformation of Economics after 1970," Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper Series 2014-15, Center for the History of Political Economy.
    8. Banzhaf, H. Spencer, 2016. "Constructing markets: environmental economics and the contingent valuation controversy," MPRA Paper 78814, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B2 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:85:y:2009:i:1:p:3-23. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://le.uwpress.org/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.