Valuing a Homeland Security Policy: Countermeasures for the Threats from Shoulder Mounted Missiles
NBER Working Paper No. 14325
This paper reports estimates for the ex ante tradeoffs for three specific homeland security policies that all address a terrorist attack on commercial aircraft with shoulder mounted missiles. Our analysis focuses on the willingness to pay for anti-missile laser jamming countermeasures mounted on commercial aircraft compared with two other policies as well as the prospect of remaining with the status quo. Our findings are based a stated preference conjoint survey conducted in 2006 and administered to a sample from Knowledge Networks' national internet panel. The estimates range from $100 to $220 annually per household. Von Winterfeldt and O'Sullivan's  analysis of the same laser jamming plan suggests that the countermeasures would be preferred if economic losses are above $74 billion, the probability of attack is larger than 0.37 in ten years, and if the cost of the measures is less than about $14 billion. Our results imply that, using the most conservative of our estimates, a program with a cost consistent with their thresholds would yield significant aggregate net benefits. More generally, this research grows out of a need to measure the benefits of an iconic public good -- national defense -- to assess the economic efficiency of Department of Homeland Security policies.
Published: V. Smith & Carol Mansfield & Laurel Clayton, 2009. "Valuing a homeland security policy: Countermeasures for the threats from shoulder mounted missiles," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 215-243, June.