Benefit-Cost Analysis in Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition

Authors: Angela Chang, Susan Horton, Dean Jamison


A variety of economic methods are used for analysis in the health sector. Other chapters in this volume summarize the findings from Disease Control Priorities (third edition) (DCP3) concerning cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) and extended cost-effectiveness analysis (ECEA) (Horton 2018; Verguet and Jamison 2018). This chapter summarizes the findings concerning benefit-cost analysis (BCA).

BCA has long been used for the analysis of public policy. The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury first used it in 1808, and its use became mandatory for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1936. The U.S. Bureau of the Budget first issued guidelines for its use in 1952. Mills, Lubell, and Hanson (2008) suggest that BCA became less well used for analysis of malaria eradication around 1980, when CEA methods were becoming well developed. More recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in applying BCA to assess the viability of public investment programs and to set priorities among a list of interventions (Jamison, Summers, and others 2013; Ozawa and others 2016; Jha and others, 2015).



Chang, A., S. Horton, and D.T. Jamison. 2017. "Benefit-Cost Analysis in Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition.  DCP3 Working Paper Series.  Working Paper #22.