New South Wales


Lunchtime Seminar: A Partial Review of Seven Jurisdictional Guidelines for Cost-Benefit Analysis


From: Tuesday August 27, 2019, 12:15 pm

To: Tuesday August 27, 2019, 1:30 pm

About the Speaker

Dr Peter Abelson gained a Ph.D from London University for his dissertation on “House Prices in Australia”. Following an early career in international consulting, Peter worked at Macquarie University from 1974 to 2005, holding a Chair in Economics from 2001 to 2005. From 2006 to the present, Peter has been Director of economic consultancy, Applied Economics P/L, and a Principal Part-Time Advisor to the NSW Treasury. From 2006 to 2012, Peter was a Visiting Scholar at Sydney University teaching pubic finance. From 2012 to the present, Peter has been the popularly elected Mayor of Mosman Council. Peter is a past President of the NSW Branch of the Economic Society of Australia (1988-90) and was Hon. Secretary of the Economic Society of Australia from 1993 to 2006.  


This paper reviews seven contemporary jurisdictional guidelines to cost-benefit analysis (CBA) with respect to eight major cost-benefit issues drawing on the latest edition of the major CBA textbook (Boardman et al, 5E, 2018) for guidance, though not complete authority.  The jurisdictions are Infrastructure Australia, NSW Treasury, Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance, UK Treasury, the European Commission, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and New Zealand Treasury. The eight major issues discussed are the issue of standing, core valuation principles, the scope of CBA with reference to potential additional economic benefits, changes in real values over time, allowance for the marginal excess tax burden, the choice of social discount rate, the use of benefit-cost ratios, and treatment of risk.  While all the guidelines are quality guides to CBA, the paper finds that there is room for improved discussion and practice at various points in each of these guidelines.




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