Seminar 9: Cost benefit Analysis and Proportionality

The aim of this seminar is to consider cost benefit analysis as a technique for policy-making.  This raises questions about first how this can be carried out and second about whether this approach is desirable.  We also consider the relationship between CBA and proportionality.  The paper by Sunstein gives a set of practical examples that illustrates how CBA works.  If you want more detail, please see the two items on the further reading list. The second item on the reading list is a choice for you of any paper in the Journal of Legal Studies Volume 29 S2 (2000) which is a special issue on cost-benefit analysis. (Pick one and then be prepared to discuss. Suggestions are Frank,  Kornhauser and Sen). On proportionality see the paper by Sartor.


 Sunstein ‘The Real World of Cost-Benefit Analysis: thirty-Six Questions (and almost as many answers)’  Harvard law school Public Law & Legal theory Working Paper N.13-11

 One paper from the Journal of Legal Studies Volume 29 S2 June 2000

Sartor ‘Balncing in the flux of time: the case of the right to be forgotten (2013), avialable at:

(if you have trouble downloading thsi please let us know).

Further Reading

 Both of these go into some more detail on teh specific technques of CBA

Carson “Contingent Valuation: A Practical Alternative When Prices Aren’t Available.” (2012) 26(4) Journal of Economic Perspectives 27

 Fujiwara and Campbell  ‘Valuation Techniques for Social Cost-Benefit Analysis: Stated Preference, Revealed Preference and Subjective Well-Being Approaches’ (2011) available at:


2 comments on “Seminar 9: Cost benefit Analysis and Proportionality

  1. Theodosia Stavroulaki says:

    I would highly recommend the article of Pr. Martha Nussbaum: “the costs of tragedy: some moral limits of cost benefit analysis”. May be one of the best articles I have ever read!

  2. giorgiomonti says:

    By the way, here is the link to the executive order that explains the working of CBA

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