May 13 2018
Updated at: Mar 18 2022

Cost Benefit Analyses Find Economic Value from Positive Action

Positive Action Staff
Positive Action is pleased to announce the publication of two independent cost-benefit analyses.

The analyses were produced by separate research entities at Columbia University and the state of Washington. Both groups found that implementing the Positive Action program creates economic benefits that far outweigh the program’s costs. The analyses indicate that not only does implementing Positive Action create economic value, there’s a substantial potential for reducing health care costs through improved lifestyles.

The calculated cost-benefit ratio varied by methodology, since the entities analyzed the costs and benefits in different ways. The Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education at Columbia University Teachers College produced a cost analysis for social-emotional learning programs that gives stakeholders a granular look at the calculations.

The costs were delineated across the three major components. Of these, the cost of materials and training was by far the lowest. When considering this cost only, the benefit/cost ratio suggested that for every dollar a school spends implementing Positive Action, $129 of economic value would be created through reduced bullying.

The second analysis was produced by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP). The Institute conducts a wide range of policy research, much of which consists of benefit-cost analyses of social and educational programs. Its analysts recently updated benefit and cost comparisons of educational programs that prevent harmful behaviors such as substance use, violence and delinquency.

The WSIPP analysts estimated a benefit/cost ratio that for every dollar spent on Positive Action, there are $26.81 in benefits. This can also be expressed as a return on investment (ROI) of 2580%. ROI is calculated as gains minus costs divided by costs. ($11,793 - $440) / $440 = 2580% return.

According to the report data, this represents the most cost-effective policy strategy available, when compared to all other education-based policy options. Carol Allred, Ph.D., developer of Positive Action, expressed gratitude for the hard work of both groups.

“This type of analysis seems easy on the surface but it is actually very difficult,” Allred said. “Both groups did a great job of considering all of the variables. What I find remarkable is that both came to the same conclusion while looking at the issue from different angles. It’s clear that implementing Positive Action is an excellent investment for schools and society”.

“The WSIPP report is unique, because it considers the lifetime value of the multiple effects of these programs on behaviors and academic achievement,” Allred added. “This long-view look is important for policy analysts and lawmakers. We talk about these programs being a good investment, and now we know for certain. They are the best investment we can make.”

The Columbia University report may be accessed here.

The Washington State Institute for Public Policy report may be accessed here.


Related Articles