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Standardized Sensitivity Analysis in BCA: An Education Case Study

  • Elina Pradhan (a1) and Dean T. Jamison (a2)
Abstract

Benefit-cost analyses of education policies in low- and middle-income countries have historically used the effect of education on future wages to estimate benefits. Strong evidence also points to female education reducing both the under-five mortality rates of their children and adult mortality rates. A more complete analysis would thus add the value of mortality risk reduction to wage increases. This paper estimates how net benefits and benefit-cost ratios respond to the values used to estimate education’s mortality-reducing impact including variation in these estimates. We utilize a ‘standardized sensitivity analysis’ to generate a range of valuations of education’s impact on mortality risks. We include alternative ways of adjusting these values for income and age differences. Our analysis is for one additional year of schooling in lower-middle-income countries, incremental to the current mean. Our analysis shows a range of benefit-cost ratios ranging from 3.2 to 6.7, and net benefits ranging from $2,800 to $7,300 per student. Benefits from mortality risk reductions account for 40% to 70% of the overall benefits depending on the scenario. Thus, accounting for changes in mortality risks in addition to wage increases noticeably enhances the value of already attractive education investments.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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References
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Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis
  • ISSN: 2194-5888
  • EISSN: 2152-2812
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