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Qualitative cost-benefit evaluation of complex, emergent programs

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  • Rogers, Patricia J.
  • Stevens, Kaye
  • Boymal, Jonathan

Abstract

This paper discusses a methodology used for a qualitative cost-benefit evaluation of a complex, emergent program. Complex, emergent programs, where implementation varies considerably over time and across sites to respond to local needs and opportunities, present challenges to conventional methods for cost-benefit evaluation. Such programs are characterized by: ill-defined boundaries of what constitutes the intervention, and hence the resources used; non-standardized procedures; differing short-term outcomes across projects, even within the same long-term goals; and outcomes that are the result of multiple factors and co-production, making counter-factual approaches to attribution inadequate and the use of standardized outcome measures problematic. The paper discusses the advantages and limitations of this method and its implications for cost-benefit evaluation of complex programs.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Evaluation and Program Planning.

Volume (Year): 32 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 83-90

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Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:32:y:2009:i:1:p:83-90

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/evalprogplan

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Keywords: Economic evaluation Cost-benefit analysis Community capacity building Qualitative methods Complexity;

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  1. Manning, Matthew & Homel, Ross & Smith, Christine, 2006. "Economic Evaluation of a Community Based Early Intervention Program Implemented in a Disadvantaged Urban Area of Queensland," Economic Analysis and Policy (EAP), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Economics and Finance, vol. 36(1-2), pages 99-119, March/Sep.
  2. van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M., 2004. "Optimal climate policy is a utopia: from quantitative to qualitative cost-benefit analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 385-393, April.
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