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Project Evaluation with Democratic Decision-making: What Does Cost-benefit Analysis Really Measure?

Listed author(s):
  • Nyborg, Karine

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

It is often argued that projects involving public good changes should be chosen on the basis of monetary valuation and cost-benefit analysis (CBA). In democratic project selection processes, however,decision-makers cannot generally interpret CBA as measuring projects’ social welfare effects.The reason is partly that decision-makers’views of the good society differ –that is, they typically do not hold the same social welfare function – and partly because separating efficiency anddistribution is even less straightforward in democratic than in dictatorial decision-making processes.

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File URL: http://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/2014/memo-08-2014.pdf
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Paper provided by Oslo University, Department of Economics in its series Memorandum with number 08/2014.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 04 Jul 2014
Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2014_008
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O Box 1095 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway

Phone: 22 85 51 27
Fax: 22 85 50 35
Web page: http://www.oekonomi.uio.no/indexe.html
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  3. Vidar Christiansen, 1981. "Evaluation of Public Projects under Optimal Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(3), pages 447-457.
  4. Bromley, Daniel W., 1990. "The ideology of efficiency: Searching for a theory of policy analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 86-107, July.
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  7. Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2005. "Are People Inequality-Averse, or Just Risk-Averse?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(3), pages 375-396, 08.
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  9. Robin Boadway, 2010. "Efficiency and Redistribution: An Evaluative Review of Louis Kaplow's The Theory of Taxation and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(4), pages 964-979, December.
  10. Hylland, Aanund & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1979. " Distributional Objectives Should Affect Taxes but not Program Choice or Design," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(2), pages 264-284.
  11. Brekke, Kjell Arne, 1997. "The numeraire matters in cost-benefit analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 117-123, April.
  12. Robin Boadway, 2006. "Principles of Cost-Benefit Analysis," Public Policy Review, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan, vol. 2(1), pages 1-44, January.
  13. W. Michael Hanemann, 1994. "Valuing the Environment through Contingent Valuation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 19-43, Fall.
  14. Peter J. Hammond, 1979. "Straightforward Individual Incentive Compatibility in Large Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(2), pages 263-282.
  15. van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1991. "Ordinal and cardinal utility : An integration of the two dimensions of the welfare concept," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 69-89, October.
  16. Dreze, Jean & Stern, Nicholas, 1987. "The theory of cost-benefit analysis," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 14, pages 909-989 Elsevier.
  17. Robert W. Hahn & Robert E. Litan, 2005. "Counting Regulatory Benefits and Costs: Lessons for the US and Europe," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 473-508, June.
  18. Nyborg, Karine, 1998. "Some Norwegian Politicians' Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(3-4), pages 381-401, June.
  19. Fridstrom, Lasse & Elvik, Rune, 1997. "The Barely Revealed Preference behind Road Investment Priorities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 92(1-2), pages 145-168, July.
  20. Karine Nyborg & Inger Spangen, 2000. "Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Democratic Ideal," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 26, pages 83-93.
  21. Johansson,Per-Olov, 1993. "Cost-Benefit Analysis of Environmental Change," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521447928, October.
  22. Ian Bateman & Amii Harwood & David Abson & Barnaby Andrews & Andrew Crowe & Steve Dugdale & Carlo Fezzi & Jo Foden & David Hadley & Roy Haines-Young & Mark Hulme & Andreas Kontoleon & Paul Munday & Un, 2014. "Economic Analysis for the UK National Ecosystem Assessment: Synthesis and Scenario Valuation of Changes in Ecosystem Services," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 57(2), pages 273-297, February.
  23. Abbie A. Rogers & Marit E. Kragt & Fiona L. Gibson & Michael P. Burton & Elizabeth H. Petersen & David J. Pannell, 2015. "Non-market valuation: usage and impacts in environmental policy and management in Australia," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 59(1), pages 1-15, 01.
  24. Kjell Brekke & Hilde Lurå & Karine Nyborg, 1996. "Allowing disagreement in evaluations of social welfare," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 63(3), pages 303-324, October.
  25. Robert W. Hahn & Paul C. Tetlock, 2008. "Has Economic Analysis Improved Regulatory Decisions?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 67-84, Winter.
  26. Quiggin, John, 1995. "The suboptimality of efficiency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 47(3-4), pages 389-392, March.
  27. Charles Blackorby & David Donaldson, 1990. "A Review Article: The Case against the Use of the Sum of Compensating Variations in Cost-Benefit Analysis," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(3), pages 471-494, August.
  28. Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2005. "Distributional Weights in Cost-Benefit Analysis—Should We Forget about Them?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 81(3).
  29. James K. Hammitt, 2013. "Positive versus Normative Justifications for Benefit-Cost Analysis: Implications for Interpretation and Policy," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 7(2), pages 199-218, July.
  30. Harberger, Arnold C, 1971. "Three Basic Postulates for Applied Welfare Economics: An Interpretive Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 785-797, September.
  31. Nyborg, Karine, 2000. "Homo Economicus and Homo Politicus: interpretation and aggregation of environmental values," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 305-322, July.
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