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Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

Cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) is a method for evaluating interventions, reforms, and policies. CEA supplements commonly used evaluation methods related to effectiveness or efficacy by adding an economic component to the evaluation. CEA indicates which intervention is the most efficient, that is, which intervention generates the biggest improvement per dollar spent. CEA can be readily applied in education research—notably for interventions that necessitate significant changes in organization or input use—and it is especially useful in the public sector, where there is no obvious driver (e.g., the profit motive) to ensure efficiency. At present, however, education researchers have made only limited use of CEA. This entry describes the general form of CEA, discusses how to estimate costs, and shows how to integrate costs with measures of ...

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