WASHINGTON – Rhode Island ranks near last among states using cost-benefit analyses to drive budget decisions, according to a report released Monday.
The study, called “States’ Use of Cost-benefit Analysis: Improving Results for Taxpayers,” found that using cost-benefit analysis helped states invest in programs and policies that paid off for taxpayers.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative research report looked at how the 50 states and Washington, D.C., used the approach in 2008 through 2011 and divided the states into three categories: “leading the way,” for states that performed 11 or more cost-benefit analyses in that period; “mixed results,” for states with three to 10 studies; and “trailing behind,” for states with two or fewer studies.
Rhode Island landed in the third category, having performed two cost-benefit analyses. The state had mixed results for implanting those studies, meaning they “sparked or informed discourse.”
The cost-benefit study was conducted as part of the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, which works with states to help determine the most cost-effective programs and policies.
Rhode Island is one of 14 states currently working with the project. Because that partnership began in 2013, this study does not reflect work the state has done on cost-benefit analysis since signing onto the project.