Non-profits are working with state governments to increase use of cost-benefit analyses to learn whether programs and policies are worth it. - 

Two of the Big-Six are about to become one in the global advertising biz. Publicis of Paris and Omnicom of New York have announced a plan to merge. The new company would be worth $35 billion, with about 130,000 employees -- assuming regulators in the U.S. and Europe give their thumbs-up. It’s a marriage of Madison Avenue and the Champs-Élysées -- very chi-chi. And also very big -- comprising 20 percent of global ad spending and 40 percent in the U.S. More than extending global branding power, though, this is about competing in the new digital media landscape.

If you’re trying to design a government program, say, to educate kids or reduce crime, you’d want it to actually work, right? There are now ways for policymakers to get a better handle on what’s effective and what’s not. A new report from the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative looks at how states are using cost-benefit analysis to guide public policy.

And are the Federal Reserve's monetary policies putting the country at risk for inflation?

Follow David Brancaccio at @DavidBrancaccio