• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is a decisional technique that is now widely used by United States governmental bodies. CBA is “welfarist” and “commensurabilist”: it describes the various effects of governmental choices on human well-being and measures their impact on a single, monetary scale. CBA has its intellectual roots in welfare economics, specifically in the construct of Kaldor-Hicks efficiency, and much of the technical literature on CBA continues to see it as a device for implementing Kaldor-Hicks efficiency.

However, some recent scholarship argues that CBA is defensible quite apart from Kaldor-Hicks efficiency. Whatever the defense, CBA is controversial. Some have criticized it for equating welfare with preference satisfaction; for ignoring the distribution of welfare; for ignoring nonwelfarist considerations; for commensurating goods that are “incommensurable”; and for having ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles