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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij
We argue that infrastructure projects are complex and that evaluations of such projects need to do justice to that complexity. The three principal aspects discussed here are heterogeneity, uniqueness, and context. Evaluations that are serious about incorporating the complexity of projects need to address these aspects. Often, evaluations rely on single case studies. Such studies are useful because they allow researchers to focus on the heterogeneous, unique, and contextual nature of projects. However, their relevance for explaining other (future) projects is limited. Larger-n studies allow for the comparison of cases, but they come with the important downside that their relevance for explaining single projects is limited because they cannot incorporate heterogeneity, uniqueness, and context sufficiently. The method Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) presents a promising solution to this conundrum. This book offers a guide to using QCA when evaluating infrastructure projects.
William K. Bellinger
How much to invest is a fundamental question applying equally well to socially valued public investments as to the private sector. Benefit-cost analysis is the cornerstone of the economic analysis of public policy, and is closely aligned with basic rational choice and market concepts from microeconomics. Information and other constraints often block the direct application of marginal analysis in policy decisions, but the conceptual role of marginalism can still be useful in interpreting cost-benefit analysis. While all policy analysis texts that emphasize the economic dimensions of policy cover the basics of marginal analysis, the sources of market inefficiency, and basic decision rules for policy analysis, the connections between marginal analysis and non-marginal policy decision rules are seldom emphasized. This chapter limits its discussion of marginal analysis to the concepts of optimal quantity and optimal allocation rather than the market based concepts of surplus, equilibrium and elasticity, which are discussed in later chapters. This chapter begins by reviewing marginal and non-marginal concepts and measures for policymaking, and then discusses a set of basic policy decisions that can be informed by these concepts. Student exercises are included and answered in the appendix to the chapter.
Using Foreign Aid to Delegate Global Security
Jean-Paul Azam and Véronique Thelen
Some regulatory reforms cannot be simply described by the change of a microeconomic signal, or macroeconomic instrument, leading to a specific marginal effect on social welfare. Rather, they should be represented by packages shifting a policy framework. The aim of this chapter is to discuss the theoretical foundations of the evaluation of policy framework reforms in network industries. Some potential interpretational pitfalls are identified and some guidance on carrying out econometric analyses is provided. Since the use of categorical variables has become widespread in the empirical evaluation of such reforms, methodological issues and conceptual errors that might be introduced when building numerical proxies of reforms are discussed. Some of these issues are key for the correct assessment of reforms and hence for formulating coherent policy recommendations.