On Criteria for Evaluating Social Programs
This paper examines the economic foundations of some recently proposed criteria for evaluating the benefits of social programs. These criteria are appropriate for comparing a class of revenue-constant policies. They replace foundational principles of social opportunity costs with accounting conventions from the point of view of government bureaucrats. They do not address the question of social optimality associated with programs that expand or contract the government budget.
We thank Bill Dougan, Arnold Harberger, Bruce Meyer, Magne Mogstad, Robert Moffitt, and Iván Werning for comments on an earlier draft which circulated in March. Bill Dougan, Magne Mogstad, and Robert Moffitt made valuable comments on this draft as well. This research was supported by funding from an anonymous donor. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Jorge Luis García & James Joseph Heckman, 2022. "Three Criteria for Evaluating Social Programs," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, vol 13(3), pages 281-286.