Project evaluation with democratic decision-making: What does cost-benefit analysis really measure?”

Karine Nyborg.


Photo: Elsevier

Published in:

Ecological Economics 2014  106  p.p. 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.

Published July 15, 2015 2:18 PM