ECON 7245 - Cost-Benefit Analysis

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2024

This course provides hands-on experience in structuring assessment of, and applying modelling solutions to, real-world problems of resource use and allocation. Students will develop skills to assess decision-making outcomes at operational (e.g. farm or department) and higher (i.e. agricultural system or jurisdictional) levels. The course begins with an introduction to a set of clear theoretical foundations as a basis for skill development. A selection of analytical frameworks for conducting cost-benefit analysis will follow. Techniques learned will allow students to assess the current state of business or policy setting and evaluate potential improvements to enhance profitability, sustainability, and human outcomes while accounting for the limited business, government or social resources.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ECON 7245
    Course Cost-Benefit Analysis
    Coordinating Unit Economics
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Restrictions For Master of Economics and Resource Policy Graduate Diploma in Economics and Resource Policy Graduate Certificate in Economics and Resource Policy
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Di Zeng

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the key theoretical and practical aspects of conducting a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA)

    2. Develop a CBA using relevant modelling assumptions or approximations

    3. Communicate with experts and non-experts the inputs to and results from a CBA

    4. Evaluate risk and uncertainty in decision-making within a CBA framework.

    5. Critically evaluate the ethical and social consequences of decision-making using CBA

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Cost-Benefit Analysis: Concepts and Practice, Cambridge University Press, 5th Edition, Anthony E. Boardman, David H. Greenberg, Aidan R. Vining, David L. Weimer.
    Recommended Resources
    Relevant software (e.g. Excel), which are available through the University’s ADAPT platform.
    Online Learning
    Extensive use is made of MyUni, and you are required to check the website regularly.

    Course material such as lectures notes and assessment materials are available on MyUni. Also, a discussion board will be available for questions you may want to ask your lecturer or fellow classmates.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Course Material:
    All course material will be available on MyUni.

    Tutorials will offer further opportunities to practice what was learned during  the workshop. It is expected that students will actively engage with the class and propose solutions to problem sets.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Students are expected to attend the workshops (2 hours per week) and  tutorials (1 hour per week) and spend, on average, 8 hours a week reading and studying.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The course is divided into four distinct components, each accompanied by relevant assessment:

    1. CBA theory: Introduction to theoretical concepts, principles and guidelines, including common pitfalls. 

    2. Application of CBA: Examples of best-practice, real-life CBA case studies across various sectors, industries or government departments
    will be presented.

    3. A critique of a case study CBA application: Review a CBA case study application, highlighting omissions and potential areas for improvement. 

    4.  Conducting a CBA: This component consolidates the knowledge gained from components one to three, emphasising key considerations for conducting a CBA that adheres to best practices.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task      
    Task Type   
    Word Count/Time Due Learning Outcome
    Online Quizzes Individual 15-20 mins 1
    Midterm Test Individual 60 mins 1
    Assignments Individual 1500 words each 1,3,4,5
    Final Project Individual 2000 words 1-5
    Active Participation Individual 1-5
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assignments MUST be submitted online through MyUni. No other type of submission will be accepted. Legible handwriting and the quality of English expression are considered integral parts of the assessment process and may affect marks.
    Assessment Detail
    Short Online Quizzes
    There will be four (TBC) online quizzes aimed at testing key knowledge and learning from the prior workshop sessions.

    Midterm Test: CBA Theory
    The midterm test will assess comprehension of CBA theory with a series of multiple-choice and short-answer questions.

    Assignment 1: Application of CBA
    Assignment to demonstrate learnings from CBA application, including challenges faced in CBA application and how they are typically addressed.

    Assignment 2: A critique of a case study CBA application
    Students are to select a case study to review out of examples provided to demonstrate their skills in critiquing a CBA.

    Final project: Conducting a CBA
    Students are to independently conduct a CBA on a relevant policy topic of their choice and present this in a report.

    Active Participation
    Students are to expected to be involved in discussion of theory, case studies, and critiques and engage in the tutorials.
    Submission will be via MyUni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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