Benefit-cost analysis of a controlled experiment: treating the mentally ill.

B. A. Weisbrod*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This study is the first benefit-cost analysis of a controlled (random assignment) experiment in the mental health field. It compares, in terms of an unusually wide variety of "tangible" and "intangible" forms of benefits and costs, a traditional hospital-based approach to treating the mentally ill with a nontraditional community-based approach. The study highlights the very different forms taken by the effects of the alternative therapies. Thus it shows how distorted conclusions can result from a failure of benefit-cost analyses to measure benefits and costs comprehensively; a change in form can be mistaken for a change in level of costs or benefits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-548
Number of pages26
JournalThe Journal of human resources
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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