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Guide to Social Cost Benefit Analysis


The Treasury maintains a website for matters related to Cost Benefit Analysis. See

Other CBA guides

Australian Department of Finance (2006) “Handbook of Cost-Benefit Analysis 2006

Baker, R. and Ruting, B. (2014) Environmental Policy Analysis: A Guide to Non-Market Valuation, Productivity Commission Staff Working Paper, Canberra.

HM Treasury, “The Green Book, Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government”, United Kingdom:

Pearce, D., G. Atkinson and S. Mourato, (2006) Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Environment: recent developments, OECD, Paris.

US Office of Management and Budget, “Guidelines and Discount Rates for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Federal Programs”, (1992):

US Environmental Protection Agency, “Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analyses”, recent advances in theoretical and applied work in the field of environmental economics, including assessing the distribution of costs and benefits amongst various segments of the population.

Guide to section 32 of the Resource Management Act:

General references

Adler, Matthew D. (2012) Well-being and fair distribution: beyond cost-benefit analysis, Oxford University Press

Arrow, K. J., and Fisher, A. C. (1974) ‘Environmental preservation, uncertainty, and irreversibility', Quarterly Journal of Economics 88, 312-319

Arrow, K., Solow, R., Portney, E. L., Radner R. and Schuman H. (1993) “Report of the NOAA Panel on Contingent Valuation”, Federal Register, 58, no. 10

Boardman, A. E., Greenberg, D. H., Vining, A. R., Weimer, D. L., (2010), Cost-benefit Analysis: Concepts and Practice, 4th edition, Prentice Hall

Campbell, H. (1997), ‘Deadweight loss and the cost of public funds in Australia', Agenda

Diamond, Peter A., and Hausman, Jerry A. (1994), “Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 8(4): 45-64

Dixit, A. K. and Pindyck, R. S. 1994, Investment Under Uncertainty, Princeton University Press, New Jersey

Dwyer, L. and Forsyth, P. (2009), ‘Public Support for Special Events', Eastern Economic Journal, 25, 481-99

Hubbard, D. W. (2014), How to measure anything: Finding the value of intangibles in business, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New Jersey

Kahneman, D. (2012), Thinking, Fast and Slow, Penguin Books Ltd

Kling, Catherine L., Daniel J. Phaneuf, and Jinhua Zhao. 2012. “From Exxon to BP: Has Some Number Become Better Than No Number?” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 26(4): 3-26

Luskin, D. and Dobes, L. (1999), Facts and Furphies in Benefit-Cost Analysis: Transport, Bureau of Transport Economics Report 100, Canberra

Maibach, M., Banfi, S., Doll, C., Rothengatter, Prof. W., Schenkel, P. Sieber, N., Zuber, J. (2000), External Costs of Transport - Accident, Environmental and Congestion Costs in Western Europe. Zuerich/Karslruhe: INFRAS, IWW

Manski, C. F. (2013), Public Policy in an Uncertain World Analysis and Decisions. Cambridge: Harvard University Press

Miller, T. R. and Guria, J. (1991), The Value of Statistical Life in New Zealand Market Research on Road Safety. Wellington, Land Transport Division, Ministry of Transport

Mishan, E.J. (1988), Cost Benefit Analysis, Routledge

New Zealand Ministry of Transport (2013),The Social Cost of Road Crashes and Injuries 2013 update

NZTA (2011), The Wider Economic Impacts of Transport Investment in New Zealand. New Zealand Transport Agency, research report 448, 2011 (prepared by Duncan Kernohan and Lars Rognlien of Steer Davies Gleave).

NZTA (2013), Economic Evaluation Manual

O'Donnell G, Deaton A, Durand M, Halpern D, Layard R (2014), Wellbeing and Policy, Legatum Institute

UK DfT (Department for Transport) (2008), The Additionality of Wider Economic Benefits in Transport Appraisal 1 April 2008

Viscusi, W. K. & Aldy, J. E. (2003), “The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World,”Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 5-76, August. Available here:


BCR Benefit cost ratio

CAPM Capital asset pricing model

CI Confidence interval

CBA Cost benefit analysis

CEA Cost effectiveness analysis

CUA Cost utility analysis

CGE Computable general equilibrium

CUA Cost utility analysis

DWL Deadweight loss

GDP Gross domestic income

GNDI Gross national disposable income

IRR Internal rate of return

MC Monte Carlo, marginal cost

MCA Multi-criteria analysis

MCDA Multi-criteria decision analysis (= MCA)

MIRR Modified internal rate of return

NPV Net present value

PPP Public private partnership

PV Present value

QALY Quality adjusted life years

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