Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Using Environmental Benefit-Cost Analysis to Improve Government Performance


Author Info

  • Toman, Michael
  • Farrow, Scott


In this paper we first describe the legal and administrative basis of mandates that variously require and eschew economic measures for environmental management. We then summarize the steps involved in benefit-cost analysis and what can and cannot be accomplished with such information. Our basic conclusion is that while the approach is not perfect, benefit-cost analysis has a solid methodological footing and provides a valuable performance measure for an important governmental function, improving the well-being of society. However, benefit-cost analysis requires analytical judgements which, if done poorly, can obfuscate an issue or worse, provide a refuge for scoundrels in the policy debate. We conclude the paper with specific suggestions for both the everyday performance of benefit-cost analysis and its use in policy decision-making.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-99-11.

as in new window
Date of creation: 01 Dec 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-99-11

Contact details of provider:
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research


This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. repec:reg:wpaper:188 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. repec:reg:wpaper:77 is not listed on IDEAS


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-99-11. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.