Increasingly, U.S. policymakers have proposed development projects in areas of the world undergoing rapid, disruptive, and often violent challenges to existing political regimes. The U.S. government typically requires that these projects undergo an economic evaluation before they can be implemented. While benefit‐cost theory and practice have made substantial gains over the last 20 years, they are more easily and aptly applied to stable economic and political conditions. This paper raises several issues concerning the theory and practice of benefit‐analysis in an environment where there is political instability and military conflict. The discussion is illustrated by reference a proposed health care project in El Salvador. I t concludes summarizing the options available to policy analysts who conduct evaluations in such situations.