The Task: 

This is the third assessment and it builds on the earlier work, draws on feedback received from the lecturer and discussion throughout the semester.

You are required to prepare a Cost Benefit Report which demonstrates, by application, your understanding of the practical issues involved in preparing a professional evaluation of the project or program that you have chosen. As indicated above it is highly recommended that your project or program is relevant to your discipline area.

The cost benefit report should, as far as possible, cover the key points from the core lecture and seminar topics.  It should begin with a description of the project including objectives, existing situation and alternatives.  The source of all the data used should be clearly indicated.  The basis of any estimates or synthetic (made up) data should be explained (However you should place  complex explanations in an Appendix).  Cost benefit techniques such as non-market valuation, discounting, sensitivity analysis, distributional impacts, and decision rules should all be used and explained where appropriate.

Particular emphasis should be placed on justifying the costs and benefits that you include and explaining the valuation techniques used.  The quantification of the value of the economic impact (cost or benefit) should be justified by explaining the method of valuation of that impact.

The Kingsford Smith Airport and the Tennant Creek Dam examples (see Moodle)  can be used as a good guide to the content and format of the report.  The main criteria in marking the Report will be how well the student understands the cost benefit method.  Rather than getting the “right” number from the analysis this requires use and explanation of the appropriate techniques for the context and purpose for which they are used.  Your report should include explanations of why certain techniques were used including consideration of their strengths and weaknesses.

In choosing your project or programme you should look for topics that allow a breadth of analysis. Such topics will present challenges in valuation and in contextualising the problem at hand. Your topic must have a social and an economic dimension. Topics that are predominantly about private costs and benefits or financial viability to the investor are NOT suitable for this unit. If in doubt discuss your project or programme choice with your tutor or lecturer.


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