IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Economic Opportunity Cost Of Capital In South Africa


  • Chun‐Yan Kuo
  • Glenn P. Jenkins
  • M. Benjamin Mphahlele


AN INVESTMENT PROJECT USUALLY LASTS FOR MANY YEARS. To determine if the project should be implemented, the net present value of the project is considered the most satisfactory criterion for use in its economic appraisal. This criterion requires the use of a discount rate in order to be able to compare the benefits and costs that arise in different time periods over the life of the investment. The economic opportunity cost of capital (EOCK) is the appropriate discount rate to use when estimating the economic net present value of a project. This hurdle rate applies not only to investments financed solely with public funds but also to investments in the form of joint public-private ventures and the provision of fiscal incentives to private investment. If the economic net present value of the project is greater than zero, the project is potentially worth implementing. This implies that the project would generate more net economic benefits than if the resources had been used elsewhere in the economy. On the other hand, if the net present value is less than zero, the project should be rejected on the ground that the resources invested could be put to better use if they were left to be allocated by the capital market. This paper describes an analytical framework that will enable us to estimate the economic cost of capital in South Africa.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Chun‐Yan Kuo & Glenn P. Jenkins & M. Benjamin Mphahlele, 2003. "The Economic Opportunity Cost Of Capital In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 71(3), pages 523-543, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:71:y:2003:i:3:p:523-543
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1813-6982.2003.tb00084.x

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sandmo, Agnar & Dreze, Jacques H, 1971. "Discount Rates for Public Investment in Closed and Open Economies," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 38(152), pages 395-412, November.
    2. Sjaastad, Larry A & Wisecarver, Daniel L, 1977. "The Social Cost of Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 513-547, June.
    3. David F. Burgess, 1981. "The Social Discount Rate for Canada: Theory and Evidence," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 7(3), pages 383-394, Summer.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Chun-Yan Kuo & Glenn Jenkins, 2007. "The Economic Opportunity Cost Of Capital For Canada - An Empirical Update," Working Paper 1133, Economics Department, Queen's University.
    2. Chun-Yan Kuo & Sener Salci & Glenn P. Jenkins, 2015. "Measuring the Foreign Exchange Premium and the Premium for Non-Tradable Outlays for 20 Countries in Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 83(2), pages 269-285, June.
    3. Glenn Jenkins & Chun-Yan Kuo & Arnold C. Harberger, 2011. "Cost-Benefit Analysis for Investment Decisions: Chapter 8 (The Economic Opportunity Cost of Capital)," Development Discussion Papers 2011-08, JDI Executive Programs.
    4. Arnold C Harberger & Glenn P Jenkins & Chun‐Yan Kuo & M Benjamin Mphahlele, 2003. "The Economic Cost of Foreign Exchange for South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 71(2), pages 155-169, June.
    5. Saule Baurzhan & Glenn P. Jenkins, 2017. "On-Grid Solar PV versus Diesel Electricity Generation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Economics and GHG Emissions," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-15, March.
    6. Glenn Jenkins & Andrey Klevchuk, "undated". "Appraisal Of El-Kureimat Combined Cycle Power Plant," Development Discussion Papers 2006-03, JDI Executive Programs.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:71:y:2003:i:3:p:523-543. 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: (Wiley Content Delivery). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.