February 16, 2018
12:00pm to 1:00pm
Haines 215
Amy Zhou

Please join the Health Working Group Friday, 2/16 in Haines 215, from 12:00-1pm for Zach Griffen's presentation of his work with Stefan Timmermans: "The Cost of Saving Babies: Calculations and Consequences."


Cost-effectiveness analysis is frequently used to guide policy-making in healthcare. Unlike cost-benefit analysis, this technology of economization is employed when outcome measures cannot be expressed in monetary terms. This paper examines the history of efforts to standardize cost-effectiveness analysis for use in health settings, as well as what happens when it is applied to a specific health intervention: newborn screening programs. The empirical data on many of the measures required to conduct cost-effectiveness analysis are often unavailable for newborn screening. In the absence of data, guidelines propose that “expert opinion” can be substituted to complete the analysis. We find that these loopholes in the standardized guidelines for cost-effectiveness analysis prompt economists to insert seemingly arbitrary numbers into the evaluation of important health interventions