Washington Law Review


Benefit cost analysis is a well-established technique for assessing the impacts of proposed actions. Accurate benefit cost analysis is essential to making informed decisions through an understanding of the trade-offs involved in alternative actions. This Article presents a methodology for improving current benefit cost techniques and hence the usefulness of benefit cost analysis to decisionmakers. The proposed methodology is based on recognition of the roles of legal rights and psychological expectations in benefit cost analysis. Proper consideration of these rights and expectations is critical to an accurate determination of how benefits and costs are measured and whose interests are included in the analysis. Addressing these issues will provide more accurate and comprehensive information to decisionmakers. Application of the proposed methodology may significantly affect the outcome of a benefit cost analysis and hence impact the decisionmaking process.

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