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Leo Dobes

Honorary Associate Professor

Australian National University

Crawford School of Public Policy

Faculty: Expert contributors


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Dr Leo Dobes teaches a Masters course in Cost-Benefit Analysis (IDEC8001) at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, where he is an Honorary Associate Professor. Following a DPhil (Oxford) in East European economics, he worked in the Australian Public Service for almost 30 years, much of it at the Senior Executive Service level.

His experience includes the diplomatic service, intelligence assessment (Office of National Assessments), Defence industry policy, microeconomic reform (The Treasury), Communications (including the 1990-91 telecommunications reforms), and transport and regional programs. In 1992, he established an environment branch in the Bureau of Transport Economics, which published widely on the costs and benefits of mitigating greenhouse emissions in the transport sector. He has also worked as a consultant at Ernst & Young, and occasionally works as an adviser to the World Bank and various government departments in Canberra.

Leo’s ongoing research interest is in the areas of the economics of waste management, and adaptation to climate change using ‘real options’ to address uncertainty. Together with Dr George Argyrous and Joanne Leung he has authored a publication exploring the pros and cons of greater harmonisation in CBA methodology and values in the various Australian and New Zealand jurisdictions. His longer term interest is to explore the costs and benefits of Australian railway networks to determine why the colonies did not standardise railway gauges after Federation.

ANZSOG programs

Dr Dobes teaches in the following ANZSOG courses:
Cost-Benefit Analysis (workshop leader)

Selected publications

Dobes, L. 2017 ‘A cross-border perspective on “standing” in cost-benefit analysis’, Working Paper no. 1711, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra.
Dobes, L. 2017 ‘The Post-Truth era in government evaluation of major projects and policies’, Working Paper no. 1704, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra.
Dobes, L., Leung, J., & Argyrous, G. (2016) Social Cost-Benefit Analysis in Australia and New Zealand: The state of current practice and what needs to be done. Canberra: ANU Press.
Dobes, L. and Leung J. (2015) Wider Economic Impacts in transport infrastructure cost-benefit analysis: a bridge too far? Agenda, 22(1): 75-96.
Dobes, L., Scheufele, G., & Bennett, J. (2015) Post-cyclone emergency services: a cost-benefit analysis for Cairns, Australia. Natural Hazards, 75(1): 869-886.
Dobes, L., Jotzo, F., & Stern, D. (2014) The economics of global climate change: A historical literature review. Review of Economics, 65(3): 281-320.
Dobes, L., Weber, N., Bennett, J., & Ogilvy, S. (2013) Stream-bed and flood-plain rehabilitation at Mulloon Creek, Australia: a financial and economic perspective. The Rangeland Journal, 35(3): 339-348.
Dobes, L., Jotzo, F., & Doupe, P. (2013) Adaptor of last resort? An economic perspective on the Government’s role in adaptation to climate change. Research report, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, June.