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Return on (Taxpayer) Investment: Evidence-Based Prevention and Intervention—Initial Report to the Legislature on Study Design—

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Steve Aos - December 2009

The 2009 Washington State Legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy “to calculate the return on investment to taxpayers from evidence-based prevention and intervention programs and policies.”

This short report summarizes the four-step approach the Institute is taking to this assignment.

  • First, we describe how we assess research evidence from throughout the United States to determine what works and what does not.
  • Second, we indicate how we calculate costs and benefits for Washington.
  • Third, we briefly discuss our procedures to provide a “portfolio-level” analysis on how a set of policy options could affect the statewide outcomes identified by the Legislature.
  • Fourth, we describe our approach to testing the uncertainty in our conclusions.

Report ID: 09-12-1202
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