Economic Evaluation in Education
Cost-Effectiveness and Benefit-Cost Analysis
- Henry M. Levin - Teachers College, Columbia University, USA
- Patrick J. McEwan - Wellesley College, USA
- Clive Belfield - Queens College, City University of New York, USA
- A. Brooks Bowden - University of Pennsylvania, USA
- Robert Shand - American University, Washington, DC, USA
The past decade has seen increased attention to cost-effectiveness and benefit-cost analysis in education as administrators are being asked to accomplish more with the same or even fewer resources, philanthropists are keen to calculate their “return on investment” in social programs, and the general public is increasingly scrutinizing how resources are allocated to schools and colleges.
This text (titled Cost-Effectiveness Analysis in its previous editions) is the only full-length book to provide readers with the step-by-step methods they need to plan and implement a benefit-cost analysis in education. The authors examine a range of issues, including how to identify, measure, and distribute costs; how to measure effectiveness, utility, and benefits; and how to incorporate cost evaluations into the decision-making process. The updates to the Third Edition reflect the considerable methodological development in the evaluation literature, and the greater empiricism practiced by education researchers, to help readers learn to apply more advanced methods to their own analyses.
SAGE congratulates author Henry M. Levin, winner of the 2017 AERA Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education Award.
“In order to improve our educational systems, we need to increase our understanding of economic evaluation. This text provides the tools for both practitioners and researchers to achieve this end. This is unequivocally the best text in the field.”
“This is a practical and clear text that practitioners can use. The authors make a strong case for the importance of economic evaluations and then provide coherent, sequential, and precise steps for conducting economic evaluations. This is a must-use for any policy methods class.”
“Clear and effective representation of a valuable approach to cost analysis offered by authorities in the field.”
This text offers evaluators a rare opportunity to enhance the effectiveness and utility of their work: Policymakers need information on programs’ effects and their costs if they are to make informed decisions. This text clearly teaches both the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of economic evaluation.
"Sound policymaking requires not just a knowledge of “what works”, but also an understanding of whether the benefits exceed the costs. This volume presents, in a clear and accessible manner, all of the tools essential to making this determination. It’s an excellent resource for policy students and policymakers alike."
Policymakers around the world face the challenge of how to use scarce resources to most effectively improve education. Researchers are supporting their efforts by providing increasingly good evidence on the impacts of a wide range of policy initiatives such as reducing class size, introducing new instructional technologies, and basing teacher compensation on student performance. But since these initiatives have different costs, policymakers find it difficult to use the research evidence. The third edition of Economic Evaluation in Education by Henry Levin and his colleagues provides a valuable resource to researchers who want to make evidence from impact evaluations useful to policymakers. Topics include methods for estimating the costs stemming from initiatives and strategies to compare the cost effectiveness of initiatives with similar objectives. Material new to this third edition includes an expanded description of how to estimate the dollar value of diverse outcomes of education and treatment of different kinds of uncertainty. One strength of the book is the lucid application of up-to-date economics methods to concrete challenges in estimating costs and evaluating benefits. A second is the variety of examples used to illustrate application of methods. A third is the set of discussion questions and exercises at the end of each chapter. These strengths make the book a wise choice as a text in Master’s level courses on making research useful to policymakers.