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Cost benefit analysis, developing planning and the EU cohesion fund: learning from experience


  • Massimo FLORIO


  • Silvia VIGNETTI



In this paper we consider the experience of transport and environmental evaluation in the framework of the Cohesion Fund, established by the EU in 1993 to co-finance through grants infrastructure projects in Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece, and more recently in the new Member States. We focus on the regulatory requirement to provide the Commission a cost-benefit analysis of the investment projects. We assess some recurrent conceptual issues in project appraisal for the Cohesion Fund. In particular we discuss typical omissions and errors we have observed in our reading of large samples of project applications and ex-post evaluations. We propose theoretically consistent and feasible solutions in the most critical areas for the CBA of Cohesion Funds projects: The choice of time horizon and the calculation of the residual value, the adoption of financial versus social discount rates, shadow pricing and the shadow wage, sensitivity and risk analysis

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo FLORIO & Silvia VIGNETTI, 2004. "Cost benefit analysis, developing planning and the EU cohesion fund: learning from experience," Departmental Working Papers 2004-31, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Universit√† degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2004-31

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dreze, Jean & Stern, Nicholas, 1990. "Policy reform, shadow prices, and market prices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-45, June.
    2. Lind, Robert C., 1990. "Reassessing the government's discount rate policy in light of new theory and data in a world economy with a high degree of capital mobility," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 8-28, March.
    3. Harberger, Arnold C, 1997. "New Frontiers in Project Evaluation? A Comment on Devarajan, Squire, and Suthiwart-Narueput," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 12(1), pages 73-79, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Massimo Florio & Silvia Vignetti, 2005. "Cost-benefit Analysis of Infrastructure Projects in an Enlarged European Union: Returns and Incentives," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 179-210, December.

    More about this item


    Cost-benefit Analysis; Transport; Environment; Cohesion Fund; EU Regional Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • O22 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Project Analysis
    • R42 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government and Private Investment Analysis; Road Maintenance; Transportation Planning

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