Governments in Australia and New Zealand have developed guidelines for public sector managers to conduct cost-benefit analysis. These guidelines, while developed with reference to each other, differ on some fundamental issues. Four major differences emerge from a review of these guidelines: the choice of discount rate, the treatment of qualitative costs and benefits, the way in which distributional considerations are to be taken into account, and the rule to use in selecting among options where benefits exceed costs. This review, by pointing out the major areas of difference, and how these relate to the literature, may help to open a dialogue that will improve the quality of the guidelines, and the CBAs that flow from them.
These Occasional Papers are jointly published by ANZSOG and the New Zealand State Services Commission.
Argyrous, G. (2013). A review of government Cost-Benefit Analysis guidelines. SSC/ANZSOG Occasional Paper. Melbourne: ANZSOG.