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Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Benefit-Cost Results

Since the 1990s, the Washington State legislature has directed WSIPP to identify “evidence-based” policies. The goal is to provide Washington policymakers and budget writers with a list of well-researched public policies that can, with a high degree of certainty, lead to better statewide outcomes coupled with a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

Research Approach. WSIPP has developed a three-step process to draw conclusions about what works and what does not to achieve particular outcomes of legislative interest. First, we systematically assess all high-quality studies from the United States and elsewhere to identify policy options that have been tested and found to achieve improvements in outcomes. Second, we determine how much it would cost Washington taxpayers to produce the results found in Step 1, and calculate how much it would be worth to people in Washington State to achieve the improved outcome. That is, in dollars and cents terms, we compare the benefits and costs of each policy option. It is important to note that the benefit-cost estimates pertain specifically to Washington State; results will vary from state to state. Third, we assess the risk in the estimates to determine the odds that a particular policy option will at least break even. ...show more

WSIPP acknowledges the MacArthur Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts that have helped fund some of the research reported on this page.

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For details on our benefit-cost methods, contact Michael Hirsch or download our technical documentation.

Latest Results. The tables on this webpage present our current findings for a variety of public policy topics. Items on these tables are updated periodically as new information becomes available. Interested readers can find more information by clicking each entry in the tables.

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Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2017

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Current estimates replace old estimates. Numbers will change over time as a result of model inputs and monetization methods.

Public Health & Prevention

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For questions on benefit-cost results relating to Public Health & Prevention, contact Eva Westley.
School-based
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review
Total benefits
Taxpayer benefits
Non-taxpayer benefits
Costs
Benefits minus costs (net present value)
Benefit to cost ratio
Chance benefits will exceed costs
May. 2018 $30,699 $9,424 $21,274 ($3,323) $27,375 $9.24 74 %
Nov. 2015 $15,613 $3,772 $11,841 ($469) $15,144 $33.28 66 %
Aug. 2015 $14,002 $3,543 $10,459 ($444) $13,558 $31.57 87 %
Apr. 2012 $16,368 $5,225 $11,142 ($3,759) $12,608 $4.35 66 %
Mar. 2018 $11,002 $2,704 $8,298 ($153) $10,850 $72.07 70 %
Apr. 2018 $10,486 $2,791 $7,694 ($1,044) $9,442 $10.05 61 %
Apr. 2012 $9,441 $2,752 $6,688 ($1,342) $8,098 $7.03 64 %
Aug. 2017 $8,420 $2,720 $5,700 ($457) $7,963 $18.43 91 %
Jun. 2015 $7,487 $1,826 $5,662 ($360) $7,127 $20.80 63 %
Dec. 2014 $4,790 $1,221 $3,569 ($64) $4,726 $75.10 99 %
Jan. 2018 $3,993 $1,032 $2,961 ($619) $3,374 $6.45 68 %
Dec. 2014 $2,929 $734 $2,196 ($33) $2,897 $90.08 91 %
Dec. 2014 $2,694 $685 $2,009 ($104) $2,590 $25.81 97 %
Dec. 2014 $2,502 $629 $1,873 ($60) $2,442 $41.71 88 %
Jun. 2014 $1,736 $417 $1,319 ($100) $1,636 $17.35 66 %
Jun. 2014 $1,528 $391 $1,137 ($40) $1,489 $38.59 69 %
Jun. 2016 $2,842 $938 $1,904 ($1,826) $1,016 $1.56 55 %
Jun. 2016 $1,017 $316 $701 ($4) $1,013 $259.46 58 %
Dec. 2014 $613 $160 $452 ($38) $574 $16.00 56 %
Jun. 2014 $581 $184 $397 ($49) $531 $11.81 62 %
Dec. 2014 $554 $202 $352 ($56) $498 $9.90 55 %
Jun. 2014 $589 $146 $443 ($97) $492 $6.05 68 %
Jun. 2014 $523 $166 $357 ($66) $457 $7.93 58 %
Dec. 2014 $497 $131 $366 ($54) $443 $9.28 90 %
Jul. 2014 $503 $146 $357 ($152) $351 $3.30 64 %
Nov. 2015 $77 $25 $52 ($25) $51 $3.02 50 %
Nov. 2015 ($28) $6 ($34) ($117) ($145) ($0.24) 48 %
Dec. 2014 ($164) ($39) ($125) ($23) ($187) ($7.13) 36 %
Oct. 2015 $342 $158 $184 ($547) ($205) $0.63 49 %
Nov. 2015 ($99) $4 ($103) ($250) ($350) ($0.40) 46 %
Aug. 2014 ($293) ($54) ($239) ($160) ($453) ($1.84) 39 %
Jun. 2014 ($451) ($139) ($312) ($15) ($466) ($29.59) 47 %
Aug. 2015 ($423) ($184) ($239) ($55) ($478) ($7.71) 49 %
May. 2018 ($562) $43 ($604) ($1,458) ($2,019) ($0.39) 0 %
May. 2018 ($881) $43 ($924) ($2,099) ($2,979) ($0.42) 0 %
May. 2018 ($7,410) ($1,704) ($5,706) ($1,491) ($8,901) ($4.97) 15 %
May. 2018 ($7,976) ($1,717) ($6,258) ($2,498) ($10,473) ($3.19) 11 %
Home- or Family-based
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review
Total benefits
Taxpayer benefits
Non-taxpayer benefits
Costs
Benefits minus costs (net present value)
Benefit to cost ratio
Chance benefits will exceed costs
May. 2015 $6,244 $1,762 $4,482 ($657) $5,587 $9.50 61 %
Apr. 2012 $5,381 $1,378 $4,004 ($835) $4,547 $6.45 76 %
Dec. 2014 $2,708 $699 $2,010 ($71) $2,637 $38.13 70 %
Mar. 2018 $13,646 $3,027 $10,619 ($11,819) $1,827 $1.15 53 %
Jun. 2016 $1,772 $473 $1,299 ($196) $1,576 $9.04 74 %
Jun. 2014 $1,869 $558 $1,311 ($674) $1,195 $2.77 56 %
Apr. 2018 $8,247 $2,408 $5,839 ($8,457) ($211) $0.98 49 %
Jun. 2014 ($66) $18 ($84) ($333) ($399) ($0.20) 46 %
Aug. 2017 $3,530 $1,306 $2,224 ($4,029) ($499) $0.88 46 %
Jun. 2016 ($266) $141 ($407) ($1,486) ($1,752) ($0.18) 41 %
Jul. 2017 $3,232 $2,087 $1,145 ($5,072) ($1,840) $0.64 42 %
Aug. 2017 $542 $829 ($287) ($4,467) ($3,926) $0.12 26 %
Jun. 2017 ($1,713) ($223) ($1,490) ($3,520) ($5,233) ($0.49) 2 %
Apr. 2018 ($8,242) ($172) ($8,070) ($14,917) ($23,159) ($0.55) 12 %
Aug. 2017 ($1,590) $2,911 ($4,501) ($39,598) ($41,188) ($0.04) 16 %
Community-based
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review
Total benefits
Taxpayer benefits
Non-taxpayer benefits
Costs
Benefits minus costs (net present value)
Benefit to cost ratio
Chance benefits will exceed costs
Dec. 2014 $32,321 $6,704 $25,617 ($41) $32,280 $794.18 100 %
Apr. 2012 $49,449 $18,286 $31,164 ($27,323) $22,127 $1.81 63 %
Dec. 2014 $19,202 $3,798 $15,404 ($53) $19,149 $363.46 100 %
May. 2018 $14,844 $4,623 $10,221 ($2,374) $12,470 $6.25 70 %
May. 2018 $14,298 $4,687 $9,612 ($3,906) $10,392 $3.66 66 %
Apr. 2012 $3,148 $863 $2,286 ($593) $2,555 $5.31 82 %
Jul. 2014 $1,708 $491 $1,217 ($516) $1,192 $3.31 72 %
Jun. 2014 $858 $238 $621 ($191) $668 $4.51 73 %
Jun. 2016 $998 $376 $621 ($529) $469 $1.89 59 %
Jan. 2018 ($421) ($16) ($405) ($704) ($1,124) ($0.60) 4 %
May. 2018 ($1,257) ($104) ($1,154) ($1,676) ($2,933) ($0.75) 17 %
Mar. 2018 ($2,671) ($47) ($2,624) ($909) ($3,580) ($2.94) 46 %
May. 2018 ($2,508) ($78) ($2,430) ($4,404) ($6,912) ($0.57) 2 %
Apr. 2012 $7,571 $4,227 $3,344 ($14,956) ($7,384) $0.51 42 %
Apr. 2012 ($7,439) ($739) ($6,701) ($7,158) ($14,598) ($1.04) 23 %
Mar. 2018 ($27,377) $927 ($28,304) ($61,930) ($89,307) ($0.44) 0 %
Population-level policies
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review
Total benefits
Taxpayer benefits
Non-taxpayer benefits
Costs
Benefits minus costs (net present value)
Benefit to cost ratio
Chance benefits will exceed costs
Dec. 2014 $20,789 $1,580 $19,210 ($217) $20,572 $95.85 95 %
Dec. 2014 $9,687 $1,577 $8,111 ($132) $9,556 $73.51 100 %
Dec. 2014 $4,128 $1,035 $3,094 ($28) $4,100 $147.33 100 %
Dec. 2014 $1,995 $573 $1,422 ($36) $1,960 $56.06 86 %
Apr. 2012 $1,409 $462 $947 ($152) $1,257 $9.29 63 %
Jun. 2016 $1,318 $354 $964 ($157) $1,161 $8.42 86 %
Jun. 2016 ($174) ($37) ($137) ($106) ($281) ($1.64) 27 %
To view details of all Public Health & Prevention programs in a single pdf, click here.

Other Public Health & Prevention topics reviewed; benefit-cost results not yet available:

Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review Notes
10% increase in cigarette tax (effect on adults)
Dec. 2014 Click for meta-analytic results
10% increase in cigarette tax (effect on youth)
Dec. 2014 Click for meta-analytic results
Adolescent Sibling Pregnancy Prevention
Apr. 2012 Click for meta-analytic results
Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids (ATLAS)
Jun. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Body Project
Jun. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Case management for caregivers of older adults with dementia NEW
Feb. 2018 Click for meta-analytic results
Case management with monetary assistance for caregivers of older adults with dementia NEW
Feb. 2018 Click for meta-analytic results
Child FIRST
Jul. 2017 Click for meta-analytic results
Circle of Security - Parenting (COS-P)
Jun. 2017 Click for meta-analytic results
Compliance checks for alcohol
Jun. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Compliance checks for tobacco
Jun. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Curriculum-based support group (CBSG) UPDATED
Apr. 2018 Click for meta-analytic results
Family Connects NEW
Nov. 2017 Click for meta-analytic results
Parent-Child Home Program
Aug. 2017 Click for meta-analytic results
Postponing Sexual Involvement (c)
Apr. 2012 Click for meta-analytic results
Protecting You/Protecting Me
Jun. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Raising Healthy Children
Jun. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Reconnecting Youth
Dec. 2014 Click for meta-analytic results
School-based programs to create a healthy food environment
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
School-based service learning
Apr. 2012 Click for meta-analytic results
School-based sexual education
Apr. 2012 Click for meta-analytic results
Soda taxes: a 1% higher tax on soda than on other food items
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
STARS (Start Taking Alcohol Risks Seriously) for Families
Jun. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Strong African American Families
Jun. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Strong African American Families—Teen
Jun. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Teen Outreach Program
Apr. 2012 Click for meta-analytic results
Workplace-wide interventions to prevent obesity
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
4Results Mentoring
Jun. 2013 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Aban Aya Youth Project
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Active Parenting of Teens: Families in Action
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Adult day services for older adults with dementia NEW
Dec. 2017 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
BrainTrain4Kids
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Celebrating Families
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
DARE to be You
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Early Head Start – Home Visiting NEW
Nov. 2017 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Friday Night Live
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Healthy Beginnings NEW
Nov. 2017 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Hip-hop 2 prevent substance abuse and HIV
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Lead and Seed
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Marijuana Education Initiative
Jun. 2017 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-Visiting (MESCH) NEW
Nov. 2017 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Media Detective
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Media Ready
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Minding the Baby NEW
Nov. 2017 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Mobile phone "apps" for smoking cessation
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Native FACETS
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Not on Tobacco
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Nurturing Fathers
Jun. 2016 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
PALS: Prevention through Alternative Learning Styles
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Project MAGIC
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Project Venture
Jun. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Pyramid model
May. 2015 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Reality Tour
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Red Cliff Wellness School Curriculum
Jun. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Refuse, Remove, Reasons (RRR) High School Education Program
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Rock in Prevention, Rock PLUS
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Sembrando Salud
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
SMART Leaders
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Stay SMART
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Storytelling for Empowerment
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Strengthening Multi-Ethnic Families and Communities
Jan. 2013 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
TAP-Helping Teens Stop Using Tobacco
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU)
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
TEG-Intervening with Teen Tobacco Users
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Tobacco and Alcohol Prevention Program
Dec. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Youth and Family Link
Jun. 2016 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Click to expand