The Cost-Benefit Revolution


The Cost-Benefit Revolution follows that government policy should not be based on public opinion, intuitions, or pressure from interest groups, but on numbers―meaning careful consideration of costs and benefits. Drawing on behavioral economics, Sunstein celebrates the cost-benefit revolution in policy making, tracing its defining moments in the Reagan, Clinton, and Obama administrations. Policies should make people's lives better. Quantitative cost-benefit analysis, Sunstein argues, is the best available method for making this happen.

Praise for The Cost-Benefit Revolution

"One of the very best Cass Sunstein books, the product of decades of reflection, remarkably well thought out on every page to an extent which is rare these days."

Marginal Revolution

"Clear, well-argued. As Sunstein notes, cost-benefit models have become progressively less wrong and more useful over time, and will surely continue to improve. The cost-benefit revolution may be incomplete and its pace of progress uncertain, but it's far from over. ¡Viva la revolución!"

Forbes Online

"The book makes three valuable contributions: it relates the history of cost-benefit analysis in US policymaking; it tackles the economist Friedrich Hayek's argument that technocrats simply don't know enough to weigh costs and benefits; and it makes a case that cost-benefit analysis could reduce political tribalism."

Financial Times

"In the excellent historical sections describing the (non-partisan) spread of CBA in the US government, Sunstein gives some persuasive examples of how to use CBA well... It's worth the read for anyone interested in the role of reason in policymaking."

Diane Coyle, The Enlightened Economist

"[Sunstein's] insights and conclusions are broadly applicable to wherever benefit-cost analysis is practiced. Sunstein thinks deeply, writes engagingly, and is often provocative...[The Cost-Benefit Revolution] is likely to lead to much interesting debate as well as to new developments in the field."

Lisa A. Robinson, Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis

"Sunstein has been leading the cost-benefit revolution, and here he explains how it is making the world a better place. If that weren't enough, this must-read lets readers into one of the world's most important minds."

Michael Greenstone, Milton Friedman Professor of Economics, University of Chicago