Project Evaluation with Democratic Decision-making: What Does Cost-Benefit Analysis Really Measure?
Photo: Ecological Economics
Ecological Economics 106 pp. 124-131
It is often argued that projects involving public good changes should be chosen on the basis of monetary valuation and cost–benefit analysis (CBA). However, CBA is not value-free. When used to measure welfare, it is based on highly controversial value judgements. When used to measure efficiency, it is based on assumptions of limited relevance to democratic decision-making processes. CBA measures total net willingness to pay, neither more nor less. While interesting in its own right, the normative significance of this indicator is not obvious.