New book examines costs, benefits of making homeland security choices

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC— To address the growing challenges of creating adequate security regulations to protect against terrorism, a new book, "Benefit-Cost Analyses for Security Policies," offers an outline for evaluating homeland security policies within the framework of benefit-cost analysis.

The book was co-edited by Carol Mansfield, Ph.D., senior economist at RTI Health Solutions, a business unit of RTI International, and V. Kerry Smith, Emeritus Regents' Professor and Emeritus University Professor of Economics at Arizona State University. 

"Analyzing policies and regulations designed to reduce terrorist threats presents challenges not found in other applications of benefit-cost analysis," Mansfield said. "In addition to the obvious costs of terrorist attacks, terrorist events create fear, which can cause people and businesses to change the way they live and operate. Policy analysts need a framework to understand how terrorism affects people's lives and to develop the new models and data needed to better understand the magnitude of these impacts."

The book compiles five years of research, including the work of top global experts in benefit-cost analyses, to identify the issues and areas of improvement for evaluating the benefits of security policies. The authors describe lessons learned from past evaluations and new methods for analyzing policies designed to reduce threats from terrorism.

The book is designed as a guide for policy analysts, academic researchers and postgraduate students interested in homeland security policy and regulation. Issues discussed in the book include terrorism's impact on the economy, the logic of risk assessment, and valuation of changes in risks of injury or death.
"Research reported in the book draws on the lessons from other policy evaluations where analysts had to grapple with threats that effected broad, seemingly intangible services such as the environment," Mansfield said. "This volume describes where we stand, what it means for current practice, and outlines ideas for moving forward." 

Both Smith and Mansfield have extensive experience with benefit-cost analysis, and in particular, methods for estimating the benefits of policies and regulations related to health and the environment.

The book, published by Edward Elgar Publishing, is available on leading commercial bookseller websites. 

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