International Handbook on Mega-Projects
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International Handbook on Mega-Projects

Edited by Hugo Priemus and Bert van Wee

This comprehensive and accessible Handbook presents state-of-the-art research on the decision-making processes in the deliverance of mega-projects – large infrastructure projects for the transportation of people and/or goods.
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Chapter 13: The use of CBA in decision-making on mega-projects: empirical evidence

Jan Anne Annema


Worldwide, cost–benefit analysis (CBA) is often applied as a tool to support political decision-making in the transport sector. This chapter aims to answer two main questions. First, are CBAs actually used by the decision-makers in the practice of ex ante mega-project evaluation? Second, which suggestions for improvements can be made from the analysis of the actual use of CBA? These two questions are mainly answered using literature study and case studies. The literature study contains empirical evidence of actual CBA use from many different countries. The case studies are confined to mega-projects from the Netherlands because the author of this chapter knows cases from this country in depth. In Section 13.2 the context of the use of CBA in mega-project planning worldwide is explained. An overview of literature on the role of CBA indecision-making on mega-projects worldwide is given in Section 13.3.Section 13.4 discusses 16 Netherlands mega-project case studies. The discussion focuses on the role of CBA in the decision-making and on the role of the Netherlands CBA guidelines in the decision making process. Barriers for the application of CBA in mega-project planning by decision-makers are identified in Section 13.5. In Section 13.6 several suggestions are made for improved CBA practice. Some conclusions are given in Section 13.7.

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