• Chapter

Introducing the issues


Mansfield, C., & Smith, V. K. (2015). Introducing the issues: Meeting the challenges in evaluating homeland security policies. In C. Mansfield, & V. K. Smith (Eds.), Benefit–Cost Analyses For Security Policies: Does Increased Safety Have to Reduce Efficiency? (pp. 3-25). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.


The task of evaluating the benefits and costs of public policies intended to enhance homeland security poses unique problems. After 9/11, the risks faced by the United States (US) population and policies needed to address them were seen in different terms. Prior to 9/11, national defense and security were often used as examples of 'pure public goods' in introductory economics texts. One of the earliest comprehensive texts, by Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson (1976), defined public goods using security as an example. He noted: Nothing is more vital to a threatened society than its security. But national defense, regarded as a commodity, differs completely from the case of a private commodity like bread. Ten loaves of bread can be divided up in many ways among individuals in a group: but national defense has to be provided more or less automatically for all. (pp. 159-160)