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Cost-benefit analysis for flood risk management and water governance in the Netherlands; an overview of one century


  • Bos, Frits
  • Zwaneveld, Peter


The Netherlands is a global reference for flood risk management. This reputation is based on a mix of world-class civil engineering projects and innovative concepts of water governance. For more than a century, cost-benefit analysis has been important for flood risk management and water governance in the Netherlands. It has helped to select the most effective and efficient flood risk projects and to coordinate and reconcile the interests of various policy areas, levels of government and private stakeholders. This paper provides for the first time an overview of this well-developed practice. This includes the cost-benefit analysis in the 1901 act for enclosure of the Zuiderzee, van Dantzig’s famous formula for the economically optimal strength of dikes and a whole set of cost-benefit analyses for More room for rivers and the Delta Program for the next century. Dutch practice illustrates how cost-benefit analysis can support and improve flood risk management and water governance; other countries may learn from this. Rough calculations indicate that investing in cost-benefit analysis has been a highly profitable investment for Dutch society.

Suggested Citation

  • Bos, Frits & Zwaneveld, Peter, 2017. "Cost-benefit analysis for flood risk management and water governance in the Netherlands; an overview of one century," MPRA Paper 80933, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:80933

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frits Bos & Coen Teulings, 2013. "Short- and long-term forecasting by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB): Science, witchcraft, or practical tool for policy?," OECD Journal on Budgeting, OECD Publishing, vol. 13(1), pages 45-56.
    2. Frits Bos, 2008. "The Dutch fiscal framework: History, current practice and the role of the central planning bureau," OECD Journal on Budgeting, OECD Publishing, vol. 8(1), pages 1-42.
    3. Ruud Brekelmans & Dick den Hertog & Kees Roos & Carel Eijgenraam, 2012. "Safe Dike Heights at Minimal Costs: The Nonhomogeneous Case," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 60(6), pages 1342-1355, December.
    4. Carel Eijgenraam & Jarl Kind & Carlijn Bak & Ruud Brekelmans & Dick den Hertog & Matthijs Duits & Kees Roos & Pieter Vermeer & Wim Kuijken, 2014. "Economically Efficient Standards to Protect the Netherlands Against Flooding," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 44(1), pages 7-21, February.
    5. Bos, Frits & Zwaneveld, Peter & van Puijenbroek, Peter, 2012. "Een snelle kosten-effectiviteitsanalyse voor het Deltaprogramma IJsselmeergebied: wat zijn de kosten en veiligheidsbaten van wel of niet meestijgen met de zeespiegel en extra zoetwaterbuffer?
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      ," MPRA Paper 61507, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Toonen, Theo A. J. & Dijkstra, Gerrit S. A. & Van Der Meer, Frits, 2006. "Modernization and reform of Dutch waterboards: resilience or change?," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(02), pages 181-201, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Frits Bos & Thomas van der Pol & Gerbert Romijn, 2018. "Should CBA’s include a correction for the marginal excess burden of taxation?," CPB Discussion Paper 370, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

    More about this item


    History of cost-benefit analysis in the Netherlands; management of natural resources; optimal strength of dikes; value of statistical life; biodiversity; Lely; Tinbergen; van Dantzig; Eijgenraam; Zuiderzee Works; Delta Works; More room for rivers; Delta Program for the next century;

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics
    • B0 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - General
    • C44 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Operations Research; Statistical Decision Theory
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

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