After September 11th 2001, most countries beefed up security at airports and other vulnerable places. Tough-looking immigration officials no doubt made passengers feel safer, offsetting the irritation of longer queues. Yet doing something because it makes people feel good is not adequate justification. Is money devoted to counter-terrorism well spent?
What claims to be the first serious study of its costs and benefits, by economists at the Universities of Texas and Alabama, says no. It was commissioned by the Copenhagen Consensus, a think-tank that aims to scrutinise public spending on the world's woes and to ask “should we be starting from here?”
The authors of the study calculate that worldwide spending on homeland security has risen since 2001 by between $65 billion and $200 billion a year. But in either case the benefits are far smaller. (full)
Picture courtesy t4toby.wordpress.com. Source: The Road Daily