Cost-Benefit Analysis of Environmental Protection


Cost-Benefit Analysis of Environmental Protection

In recent years the use of “cost-benefit” analysis to set environmental standards
has attracted a large and high-profile group of supporters. According to its
advocates, cost-benefit analysis offers a way of achieving superior environmental results
at a lower overall cost to society than other
available approaches.

This view is mistaken. Cost-benefit analysis is a deeply flawed method that
repeatedly leads to biased and misleading results. Far from providing a panacea, costbenefit
analysis offers no clear advantages in making regulatory policy decisions and often
produces inferior results, in terms of both environmental protection and overall social
welfare, compared to other approaches.


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