ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Cost-Benefit Analysis Dilemma: Strategies and Alternatives

Cost-benefit analysis has on the one hand been enlisted by decision-makers around the world as a way of justifying or scrutinising choices about whether to build dams, road, airports; what actions to take on global warming or biodiversity; to determine damages from oil spills; or redesign automobiles for safety. At the same time, grass roots opponents have contested the ways in which the technique values lands and natural resources, its neglect of equity issues and its incompatibility with many forms of reasoned negotiation. Engaged intellectuals have argued that the technique does not clarify but obscures rational deliberative processes involving plural values and is based on deeply controversial political theory. A conference held at Yale University in October 1999 brought together diverse professionals in an effort to better understand the nature of conflicts that CBA creates and how to cope with the political challenges posed by it. Presented here is a review of the proceedings followed by a selection of papers read and discussed at the conference.

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