The Why and How of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (Hank Levin, Columbia University)

May 4, 2009

12:00 p.m.
Presented by:Hank Levin, William H. Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education, Columbia University
JRP Hall Room 150
The University of Kansas


In educational evaluations and educational policy discussions, comparisons of different interventions with the same goal are usually limited to comparisons of their effectiveness. But, for the same level of improved educational effectiveness, an intervention might be associated with large differences in costs. Costs are rarely measured or considered in such evaluations. Even when they are, effectiveness results such as increased student achievement are assessed with the equivalent of micrometers or calipers, but costs are assessed with the equivalent of a witching rod. This presentation will describe cost-effectiveness analysis and why it is important in educational policy. It will demonstrate the method of cost measurement and show how it can be combined with effectiveness to obtain cost-effectiveness comparisons of educational alternatives.

Hank Levin is the William H. Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education at Columbia University in New York City. His research interests have led him to investigate the economics of education, school vouchers, and school reform.