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EFFICIENCY IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR : The Theory and Practice of Cost-Benefit Analysis

EFFICIENCY IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR : The Theory and Practice of Cost-Benefit Analysis

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During the 1960s, economists strongly advocated the use of cost-benefit analysis (CBA) as the means by which the efficiency of public investment might be improved. Since then, growing attention has been paid to its short comings, mainly centring on its prime concern with efficiency, to the neglect of the many other objectives which the public decision-maker has to pursue.

In Efficiency in the Public Sector, Alan Williams and Emilio Giardina have brought together a group of leading analysts who provide a critical assessment of the role of CBA in improving the efficiency of public-sector investment appraisal. Drawing upon European experience over the past 30 years, they trace the evolution of the CBA debate and examine some of the proposed alternatives, including multi-criteria techniques. The theoretical and practical implications of this debate are thoroughly analysed. The book also includes a comparison of public and private sector evaluation techniques case studies from the fields of transport and health care, and consideration of the role of analysts in the public investment decision-making process.

Recognizing the growing pressure for standardization of evaluation techniques across the European Community, this important book argues that effective evaluation requires both appropriate incentive structures and greater openness about the criteria and information used. Efficiency in the Public Sector offers a challenge to analysts and decision-makers to ensure that European communal experience of public project evaluation in the future is not simply a re-run of their individual experience over the last 30 years.

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