Project Evaluation with Democratic Decision-making: What Does Cost-Benefit Analysis Really Measure?

Karine Nyborg

Photo: Ecological Economics

Published in:

Ecological Economics 106 pp. 124-131

Link to the paper


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.


Published Mar. 4, 2016 12:11 PM - Last modified June 28, 2019 12:41 PM