Cost-Benefit Analysis for Investment Decisions: Chapter 8 (The Economic Opportunity Cost of Capital)
An investment project usually lasts for many years, hence its appraisal requires a comparison of the costs and benefits over its entire life. For acceptance, the present value of the project's expected benefits should exceed the present value of its expected costs. Among a set of mutually exclusive projects, the one with the highest net present value (NPV) should be chosen. This criterion requires the use of a discount rate in order to be able to compare the benefits and costs that are distributed over the life of the investment. The discount rate recommended here for the calculation of the economic NPV of projects is the economic opportunity cost of capital for the country. If the economic NPV of a project is greater than zero, it is potentially worthwhile to implement the project. This implies that the project would generate more net economic benefits than the same resources would have generated if used elsewhere in the economy. On the other hand, if the NPV is less than zero, the project should be rejected on the grounds that the resources invested would have yielded a higher economic return if they had been left for the capital market to allocate them to other uses. This chapter explains how the economic opportunity cost of funds to an economy is derived and how it is used in the appraisal of an investment to calculate its economic present value.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6|
Phone: (613) 533-2250
Fax: (613) 533-6668
Web page: http://www.econ.queensu.ca/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Glenn P. Jenkins, 1981. "The Public-Sector Discount Rate for Canada: Some Further Observations," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 7(3), pages 399-407, Summer.
- Glenn Jenkins, 1973. "The Measurement Of Rates Of Return And Taxation From Private Capital In Canada," Development Discussion Papers 1973-02, JDI Executive Programs.
- David F. Burgess, 1981. "The Social Discount Rate for Canada: Theory and Evidence," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 7(3), pages 383-394, Summer.
- Glenn P. Jenkins, 1985. "Public Utility Finance and Economic Waste," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(3), pages 484-98, August.
- Sjaastad, Larry A & Wisecarver, Daniel L, 1977. "The Social Cost of Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 513-47, June.
- Chun-Yan Kuo & Glenn P. Jenkins & M. Benjamin Mphahlele, 2003. "The Economic Opportunity Cost Of Capital In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 71(3), pages 523-543, 09.
- David Burgess, 2008. "Removing Some Dissonance From the Social Discount Rate Debate," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20082, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:qed:dpaper:201. 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: (Bahman Kashi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.