• Offered by International and Development Economics Program
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject International and Developmental Economics
  • Areas of interest Economics
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Yuk Amy Liu
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2016
    See Future Offerings

The broad purpose of cost benefit analysis (CBA) is to help project evaluation and social decision making. More specifically, the objective is to facilitate the more efficient allocation of society’s resources. This course introduces the basic tools and theoretical framework for CBA. Emphasis will be placed on hand-on learning experience, and applications in the context of developing countries.

 This course consists of a 2.5 hours weekly lecture and one hour weekly tutorial. Tutorial time will be determined in the first week of the semester. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to: 

  • understand why CBA can be used to appraise projects with an objective to improve social welfare 
  • gain a understanding of the fundamentals of CBA 
  • have the capacity to appreciate the appropriate steps or approaches to evaluate the financial and economic values of a project 
  • understand the strength and limitations of CBA in project appraisal

Other Information

 The course will be delivered "on campus" with materials posted in Wattle.

Indicative Assessment

There will be tutorial exercises, assignments (15%), a mid-term test (30%) and a final examination (55%).

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Three and a half contact hours per week, including 2.5 lecture hours and one hour tutorial.  Consultation is by appointment. On average, students are expected to spend five to six hours outside of contact hours to complete the course.

Prescribed Texts

Perkins, F.C. (1994). Practical Cost Benefit Analysis: Basic Concepts and Applications. Macmillan, Melbourne.

Boardman, A.E. et al. (2010). Cost Benefit Analysis - Concepts and Practices, Fourth Edition, Prentice Hall, NJ.

Sinden, J.A. and Thampapillai, D.J. (1995). Introduction to Cost Benefit Analysis, Longman, Melbourne.

Campell, H. and R. Brown (2003). Benefit-Cost Analysis: Financial and Economic Appraisal Using Spreadsheets, Cambridge. 

Preliminary Reading

Nas, T.F. (1996). Cost Benefit Analysis - Theory and Application. Sage, California.

Zerbe, R.O. and A.S. Bellas (2006). A Primer for Benefit-Cost Analysis, Edward Elgar Publishing.

Department of Transport and Regional Services (2005). Report 110: Risk in Cost-Benefit Analysis, Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics, Commonwealth of Australia. [Downloadable: http://www.btre.gov.au/info.aspx?ResourceId=25&NodeId=22]

Dinwiddy, C.L. (1996). Principles of Cost-Benefit Analysis for Developing Countries, Cambridge University Press.

Zerbe, R.O. and Dively, D.D. (1994). Benefit Cost Analysis in Theory and Practice, Harper Collins, NY.

Australia Department of Finance. (2006). Handbook of Cost-Benefit Analysis, Australian Publishing Service, Canberra.      



Jenkins, G.P. and Harberger, A.C. (1991). Program on Investment Appraisal and Management Manual - Cost Benefit Analysis of Investment Decisions, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard Institute for International Development.

Gramlich, E. (1997). A Guide to Benefit-Cost Analysis, Waveland Publishing, NJ.

Hanley, N. and C. L. Spash (1998). Cost-benefit analysis and the environment, Edward Elgar.

Little, I.M.D. and Mirrlees, J.A. (1974). Project Appraisal and Planning for Developing Countries, London, Heinemann Educational Books.

Pearce, D.W. and Nash, C.A. (1981). The Social Appraisal of Projects: A Text in Cost Benefit Analysis, Macmillan, London.

Sassone, P.G. (1978). Cost-Benefit Analysis: A Handbook, Academic Publisher.

UNIDO (1972). Guidelines for Project Evaluation, New York, United Nations.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $4878
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
7988 18 Jul 2016 29 Jul 2016 31 Aug 2016 28 Oct 2016 In Person N/A

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