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Multi-government cost-benefit analysis: shadow prices and incentives

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  • Massimo FLORIO

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Abstract

Europe needs a huge investment effort for (broadly defined) infrastructure in the next decade. A combination of EU grants, loans by the EIB and the EBRD, and their leverage effect on private capital is going to mobilise a huge amount of savings. Planners should establish priorities and criteria. Microeconomic social accounting, i. e. cost-benefit analysis, despite its limitations, is needed as a support to investment planning and evaluation. The key message of modern CBA theory is that shadow prices are not proxies of perfect markets outcome, but are planning signals that solve a (policy–constrained) social planner’s problem. Planners must compute shadow prices, evaluators should use them for project appraisal, and the two functions should not be confused. In principle this distinction applies at each planning level, but a consensus decision-set should emerge from this process, using a bottom-up approach. In a multi-government setting there are, however, information asymmetries that need to be addressed, and we have to turn to incentive theory. The paper proposes to move away from the current low-powered incentive EU co-financing mechanism, essentially an investment cost part-reimbursement scheme, towards a more incentive-based system. Financial and economic analysis, ex ante and ex post, should be linked to an economic performance bonus for more socially deserving projects. Examples are given of such mechanisms. Planners, managers and evaluators should be given appropriate incentives to use CBA as a cooperative learning game

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo FLORIO, 2006. "Multi-government cost-benefit analysis: shadow prices and incentives," Departmental Working Papers 2006-37, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2006-37
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Massimo Florio, 2005. "A ``European Consensus'' on the Growth Agenda? A Discussion of the Sapir Report," Transition Studies Review, Springer;Central Eastern European University Network (CEEUN), vol. 12(3), pages 411-431, December.
    2. Dreze, Jean & Stern, Nicholas, 1990. "Policy reform, shadow prices, and market prices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-45, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Massimo Florio & Silvia Vignetti, 2008. "Building a bridge across CBA traditions: the contribution of EU Regional Policy," Working Papers 200908, CSIL Centre for Industrial Studies.
    2. Ginés Rus & M. Socorro, 2010. "Infrastructure Investment and Incentives with Supranational Funding," Transition Studies Review, Springer;Central Eastern European University Network (CEEUN), vol. 17(3), pages 551-567, September.
    3. Massimo Florio & Silvia Vignetti, 2013. "The use of ex post Cost-Benefit Analysis to assess the long-term effects of Major Infrastructure Projects," Working Papers 201302, CSIL Centre for Industrial Studies.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cost-Benefit Analysis; Incentives; Infrastructure Planning; Evaluation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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