Economic Evaluation in the age of Uncertainty
Supporting value judgements about policies and programmes is a central task in evaluation. There is, however, little consensus on how evaluators are to accomplish this task.The traditional cost-benefit approaches were found wanting and yet valuation as promoted by checklists or qualitative stakeholder interviews is not anchored to an economic theory and thus inspires little confidence. While no single methodology is likely to be accepted by all, recent developments in economic theory support a new interpretation. This proposed approach is a variant of social cost benefit analysis (SCBA); it retains the representation of stakeholder values while avoiding the more dogmatic, and even mechanical, underpinnings of traditional economic analysis. In this article we trace the development of this new ‘options-based’ approach and chart out the path for further research. It warrants, we believe, a voice in the dialogue on economic evaluation.
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