View your list of saved words. (You can log in using Facebook.)
In governmental planning and budgeting, the attempt to measure the social benefits of a proposed project in monetary terms and compare them with its costs. The procedure was first proposed in 1844 by Arsène-Jules-Étienne-Juvénal Dupuit (1804–66). It was not seriously applied until the 1936 U.S. Flood Control Act, which required that the benefits of flood-control projects exceed their costs. A cost-benefit ratio is determined by dividing the projected benefits of a program by the projected costs. A wide range of variables, including nonquantitative ones such as quality of life, are often considered because the value of the benefits may be indirect or projected far into the future.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on cost-benefit analysis, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up cost-benefit analysis? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.