Cost-benefit analysis in environmental assessment: Some methodologicalissues

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A fundamental step in integrated environmental assessment (IEA) is thechoice of an assessment framework. The usual attempt to develop integratedassessments of different options is to apply a cost-benefit analysis (CBA),which is an important part of the IEA, but at the same time one of itsweakest points. One should note that this paper does not aim at presentingnew advances on specific issues of CBA. The present paper has as a mainobjective to analyse the role of CBA in the IEA framework in particular: (1)to make explicit the economical, philosophical and mathematical assumptionson which CBA is based; (2) to discuss the main characteristics andconsequences of these assumptions; (3) to test the consistency andcompatibility of such an axiomatic system. It is thought that this is usedabove all for non-economists involved in IEA studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-168
JournalEcological Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996


  • Commensurability
  • Compensability
  • Cost-benefitanalysis
  • Distrib ution
  • Efficiency
  • Integrated assessment
  • Sustainability


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