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Mikael Svensson

In: 21st Century Economics: A Reference Handbook

Chapter 27: Cost-Benefit Analysis

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Cost-Benefit Analysis
Cost-benefit analysis

Infrastructure, education, environmental protection, and health care are examples of goods and services that in many circumstances are not produced by competitive private companies. Instead, decision making regarding investments and regulations is often made by politicians or public sector officials. For these decisions to be consistent, rational, and increase welfare, a systematic approach to evaluating policy proposals is necessary. Cost-benefit analysis is such a tool to guide decision making in evaluation of public projects and regulations. Cost-benefit analysis is a procedure where all the relevant consequences associated with a policy are converted into a monetary metric. In that sense, it can be thought of as a scale of balance, where the policy is said to increase welfare if the benefits outweigh the ...

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