IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Institutional Safeguards for Cost Benefit Analysis: Lessons from the Chilean National Investment System


  • Gómez-Lobo Andrés

    (Department of Economics, University of Chile)


This paper discusses some institutional and procedural designs that can strengthen CBA as a decision making tool within the public sector. Our discussion is based on Chile’s National Public Investment System (SNI) the earliest and most consolidated investment appraisal system in Latin America. The objective of Chile’s SNI is to provide a coherent framework for identifying, coordinating, evaluating and implementing public investments. Chile’s SNI has several interesting institutional characteristics. For example, it standardizes project presentation formats, establishes explicit application and evaluation processes for public funds, provides general as well as sector specific methodological guidelines for CBA of projects and programs, and introduces a system of “checks and balances” by separating the institution that evaluates projects from the institutions promoting projects. Besides describing the system and highlighting the features we believe strengthen the use of project appraisal as a decision making tool. The paper also presents data on the number of projects appraised by sector, the overall results of appraisals and other administrative data, as well as a summary of ex-post studies for a sample of road, rural electricity, education and health projects. Unfortunately, the limited data available and the lack of a proper counterfactual scenario do not allow for strong conclusions to be made regarding the performance of the system. However, the data presented serves as an illustration of the Chilean system and it may be of value to researches in this field as well as to policymakers in other countries wishing to improve their public investment systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Gómez-Lobo Andrés, 2012. "Institutional Safeguards for Cost Benefit Analysis: Lessons from the Chilean National Investment System," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jbcacn:v:3:y:2012:i:1:n:1

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ortegón, Edgar & Dorado, Diego, 2006. "Los sistemas nacionales de inversión pública en Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica y Trinidad y Tabago," Manuales 46, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    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. repec:kap:transp:v:44:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s11116-016-9697-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mouter, Niek, 2017. "Dutch politicians’ attitudes towards Cost-Benefit Analysis," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 1-10.
    3. Salvador Bertomeu & Antonio Estache, 2016. "Unbundling Political and Economic Rationality: a Non-Parametric Approach Tested on Spain," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2016-17, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

    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:bpj:jbcacn:v:3:y:2012:i:1:n:1. 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: (Peter Golla). 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.