Economic Decision Guide Software (EDGe$) Online Tutorial

Published in NIST Special Publications, 2020

Recommended citation: Helgeson, J. F., & Zhang, P. J. (2020). Economic Decision Guide Software (EDGe$) Online Tutorial: Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Case Study. US Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In the summer of 2020, I supported the development of the EDGe$ software under Dr. Jennifer Helgeson at NIST’s Applied Economics Office. The software gives policymakers an intuitive framework for making investments in resiliency projects.

Suppose you are a local authority in a coastal town that regularly floods. Following a particularly severe flood, you decide that an investment in flood infrastructure is necessary. But what will you build? More storm drains and pipes? Or vegetated roofs and roadside plantings?

In addition to effectiveness at mitigating a disaster, resilience investments impose externalities and co-benefits. A new park can be both a pleasant communal space and a buffer for floodwater. EDGe$ encourages decisions to explicitly factor in all costs and benefits. I worked with Dr. Helgeson to conduct a literature review on co-benefits in resiliency planning and publish a tutorial on EDGe$ with a case study inspired by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Since this paper, Helgeson and her team have published another case study and further research on resilience dividends.