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Handbook on Valuing Children's Health

Learn more about the Children's Health Valuation Handbook below.

What is the Children’s Health Valuation Handbook?

The Children’s Health Valuation Handbook is a companion document to EPA’s Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analyses (2010). The Handbook is a reference tool for analysts conducting economic analyses of EPA policies when those policies are expected to affect risks to children’s health. Because the state of knowledge surrounding the valuation of children’s health is still in it’s infancy, this document is designed to be more informative than prescriptive. The Handbook’s three-ring binder format will facilitate making updates as new information in this expanding state of knowledge becomes available.

Why is the Handbook Important?

The Handbook presents and discusses issues that may not be satisfactorily addressed by the current state of knowledge. Discussion of these issues should improve economic analyses of children’s health effects by alerting analysts to unresolved areas and by identifying areas for future research. In this way, the Handbook will serve as a description of EPA’s needs for valuing children’s health effects and will encourage research among EPA and non-EPA economists as well as other experts.

Key Topics and Features

  • Describes three alternative perspectives to a child-determined value of reducing child health risks;
  • Provides information on the valuation of children’s health effects by discussing if, when, and how values for children may differ from values for adults for the same effects;
  • Gives guidance on qualitatively describing the likely over- or under-valuation of reduced child risk resulting from the transfer of risk values estimated for adults to children;
  • Provides a description of the best way to value risk experienced by children, recognizing that direct estimates of these values are not yet available;
  • Discusses how economic methods used to estimate values for adult health effects can be applied to value children’s health effects;
  • Provides instructions on when and how to transfer value estimates derived for adults to scenarios involving children, as a second best alternative to actual child values;

Who is the Handbook For?

The main audiences for the Handbook are those performing or using economic analysis, including policy makers, the Agency’s Program and Regional Offices, and contractors providing economic reports to the EPA. In addition, academic and research economists have also expressed an interest in using the Handbook to frame further research in the area of children’s health valuation.

Who was involved?

The Handbook was developed by EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) and Office of Children’s Health Protection (OCHP). The Handbook benefitted greatly from the input of a variety of economists and researchers both inside and outside the Agency. Deliberations of the Economics and Assessment Workgroup of the Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee helped the NCEE authors define the issue and create an outline. Several whitepapers were commissioned from outside researchers, providing key background material for the Handbook. An intragency workgroup of program economists helped shape the Handbook, providing early reviews of whitepapers and chapters as well as internal peer review of completed versions of the Handbook. In addition the Handbook was externally peer reviewed by four academic and research environmental economists.

The National Center for Environmental Economics

The National Center for Environmental Economics was created to be a federal source of cutting-edge work in environmental economics and assist EPA Program Offices, Agency economists, and regulatory policy makers with high quality economic analyses. It carries out original theoretical and empirical research and is staffed by economists, other scientists, and policy analysts.

Office of Children’s Health Protection

The Office of Children’s Health Protection supports and facilitates EPA’s efforts to protect children’s health from environmental risks. OCHP works with others both inside and outside EPA to improve scientific understanding of risks to children and develop regulatory guidance and information affecting children’s health. The mission of OCHP is to make the protection of children’s health a fundamental goal of public health and environmental protection.

Download a copy of the Children’s Health Valuation Handbook

Children's Health Valuation Handbook (PDF) (100 pp., 1.11 MB, About PDF)