A Primer for Benefit and Cost Assessments
While economic concerns are not the only issue important in the decision-making process, analysis of the benefits and costs of a program or project is often a fundamental criterion in program selection. In this article, issues concerning the practical application of benefit-cost analysis will be discussed and the value of the concept relative to policy analysis will be considered.* It provides a primer of the techniques available for benefit-cost analysis often used for program or project assessments and evaluation.
In highly competitive business environments, competition for funds among various interests and programs is often an important factor in selecting which programs to support and implement. Benefits and costs can be either qualitative or quantitative. When funds are limited many organizations use benefit cost assessments to set priorities and simplify decision-making. Benefit-cost analysis techniques are used to assess the financial aspects of programs or projects developed for the public, non-profit and private sectors. They are used to evaluate a program or project during the planning stages, prior to implementation, or while a program is underway. Benefit-cost analysis techniques are also used to evaluate individual projects within a program or to perform an evaluation after a program is completed. This article offers a review of the benefit-cost techniques available for program evaluation.
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