• Class Number 3154
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Leo Dobes
    • Dr Leo Dobes
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

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The objective of Cost-Benefit Analysis is to provide decision-makers with information about the social value of government-sponsored programs, projects and policies, so that they can allocate resources in a way that improves the well-being of society as a whole.  The course covers  the key concepts and tools that are essential for the evaluation of government activity by applying cost-benefit techniques, including under conditions of uncertainty.  Case studies are employed to give students the confidence and insights required to undertake their individual assignment.  Alternative decision-making approaches will also be presented to provide a perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of cost-benefit analysis.

Learning Outcomes

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

On successful completion of this course, students will have: 

  • a solid understanding of the basic rationale and techniques for applying cost-benefit analysis to government-sponsored programs, policies and projects. 
  • the ability to plan and implement a cost-benefit study;
  • the ability to understand and critique a cost-benefit study prepared by someone else.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 week 1 Overview and history of cost-benefit analysis (CBA); conceptual issues none
2 week 2 Investment analysis; investment time lines; time preference and discount rates; real and nominal values; compounding and discounting, annuities; different project time frames; decision rules A workbook will be used to provide practical experience. It is essential that students bring a calculator and a hard copy version of the Workbook that will be made available on Wattle in the week before the lecture
3 week 3 Micro-economic underpinnings of CBA: willingness to pay, consumer and producer surplus, compensating and equivalent variation,, marginal excess tax burden, introduction to transport sector CBA. short quiz
4 week 4 Valuing benefits and costs: opportunity cost; benefits in primary markets; benefits in secondary markets; taxes and subsidies; existence value. short quiz
5 week 5 Social discount rates: approaches to determining social discount rates; intergenerational discounting short quiz
6 week 6 Valuation of impacts: predicting and monetising impacts; experiments and quasi-experiments short quiz
7 week 7 Valuing impacts from observed behaviour: estimating demand functions, market analogies, trade-off method, intermediate goods, hedonic pricing, travel cost method, defensive expenditures, and damage cost. short quiz
8 week 8 Valuing impacts using stated preference techniques: Contingent Valuation Methods and Choice Modelling short quiz
9 week 9 Shadow pricing: land, labour, natural resources, value of statistical life short quiz
10 week 10 Risk and uncertainty: sources of uncertainty, Knightian risk and uncertainty, decision trees, Monte Carlo methods, sensitivity analysis short quiz, example of past exam question
11 week 11 Risk and uncertainty: option prices and values, real options short quiz, example of past exam question
12 week 12 Alternative evaluation approaches and distributional issues: Cost-effectiveness, Multi-Criteria Analysis, distributional weights, distributional analysis. short quiz, example of past exam question

Tutorial Registration

Lectures are interactive. Separate tutorials are not held.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Assignment: topic summary 10 % 19/03/2019 26/03/2019 1
Essay 45 % 23/04/2019 07/05/2019 1,2,3
Exam 45 % 06/06/2019 04/07/2019 1,2

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 19/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 26/03/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1

Assignment: topic summary

The written summary should be no more than about one page long. It should capture the main ideas presented on a specific topic set by the lecturer, and should be expressed in the student's own words. Students are expected to do more than summarise a lecture or a textbook. The objective is to ensure that students master at least one particular topic or concept during the course through self-directed learning at an early stage of the course. 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 45 %
Due Date: 23/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 07/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3


To be completed by 11:55pm on Tuesday 23 April 2019. Students should make themselves familiar with the Crawford policy on extensions and late submissions. The essay will be marked by the lecturer.

 The key aspects that should be covered in the essay are

concise summary of the case study (objective, content and results)

critique of methodology and use of data

suggested improvements in methodology and use of data, and their potential effect on the results of the case study

short comment on whether the explanations in the case study would be understandable to the public

presentation of your essay (especially spelling, and accuracy and style of referencing)


Students should aim to write no more than about 2,500 words. The 2,500 words is not a target, but rather a maximum. If you are able to convey your thoughts in fewer words, that is preferable.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 45 %
Due Date: 06/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2


One two-hour paper at the end of the semester. Value of 45 marks out of 100. Candidates will be required to apply the methodology underlying CBA to demonstrate their overall understanding of the course.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

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.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Leo Dobes
6125 2557

Research Interests

  • Economics of waste management
  • Adaptation to climate change
  • Cost-benefit analysis

Dr Leo Dobes

Tuesday 12:00 13:00
Dr Leo Dobes
6125 2557

Research Interests

Dr Leo Dobes

Tuesday 12:00 13:00

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