Evaluating welfare improvements from changes in homeland security policies
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government pursued a variety of new and often controversial counterterrorism policies. These policies imposed billions of dollars of monetary costs on U.S. taxpayers. They also imposed additional nonmonetary costs on those individuals who felt that their or others’ civil liberties were restricted as a result of expanded government powers. The extent to which these or other counterterrorism policies are favored by the public ultimately depends on whether the expected benefits are large enough to exceed the costs they impose on the public. Given the controversial nature of counterterrorism policy, the design and evaluation of effective policies would benefit from an improved understanding of the public’s willingness to trade the monetary and nonmonetary costs of specific policies for increased security.