Cost-Benefit Analysis (90-747)

This course covers the fundamentals of cost-benefit analysis, an important element of policy analysis,and introduces cost-effectiveness analysis as a method of deciding between alternative projects/policies/courses of action. The goal is for students to be able to understand basic issues related to cost-benefit, common critiques of this approach, how benefits and costs are calculated, the appropriate use of discount rates, and common approaches to uncertainty and risk.

Learning Objectives: 

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to: 

  1. Understand the key elements of a cost-benefit analysis including computation of costs, computation of benefits, discounting, and uncertainty and risk. 
  2. Address the common critiques of the approach. 
  3. Be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a specific cost-benefit analysis.

Soft Prerequisites: 

Students must have completed EITHER 90-709 Intermediate Economic Analysis OR 90-710 Applied Economic Analysis, as well as 90-711 Empirical Methods 

  • Units