Spring 2023  |  PA 5312 Section 001: Cost-Benefit Analysis for Program Evaluation (57637)

Class Component:
2 Credits
Grading Basis:
Student Option No Audit
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
In Person
Enrollment Requirements:
Grad or Masters or Law
Times and Locations:
First Half of Term
01/17/2023 - 03/13/2023
Mon, Wed 04:00PM - 05:15PM
UMTC, West Bank
Hubert H Humphrey Center 20
Enrollment Status:
Open (10 of 30 seats filled)
Also Offered:
Course Catalog Description:
This class introduces students to cost-benefit analysis, the leading evidenced-based method for determining whether a government program or policy improves the well-being of society. Starting with the foundations of welfare economics, students learn how to monetize important benefits and costs associated with government activities. Topics include discounting future benefits and costs, the roles of standing and risk, ways of valuing human lives and other benefits that may be hard to value in dollar terms. Students will acquire skills needed to perform relevant calculations needed for the economic assessment of benefits relative to costs and the ability to critique the use of these methods regarding how they may advantage or disadvantage some members of society or particular types of policies. Policy areas include preventive interventions in social, health and education as well as applications in transportation and environmental policy. Prerequisite: PA 5021 or other prior course in microeconomics.
Class Notes:
Class Description:
Meets Monday/Wednesdays at 4:00-5:15 pm, January 17 -
March 13, 2023

This class introduces MPP students and others to methods used in cost-benefit analysis, the leading evidenced-based method for guiding decisions about whether a government program or policy improves the well-being of society. For Humphrey students, this course can be used as an elective or as part of the economics core requirement. For students who have already fulfilled that requirement, this course can be used to satisfy requirements in the Advanced Policy Analysis concentration.
Who Should Take This Class?:
Graduate students who have had some exposure to introductory microeconomics. Senior undergrads may also enroll.

Required Text: Boardman, Greenberg, Vining, Weimer (2019) Cost-Benefit Analysis: Concepts and Practice, 5th edition, Cambridge University Press. Note that the fourth edition also is OK, except that some of the chapters are in a different order.

Learning Objectives:
We'll cover the theory of CBA in just a few weeks and then jump right into the applications!
There will be two quizzes taken remotely worth 15% each, five short assignments worth 7% each and a final paper worth 30% in total. The final paper will have three parts - a one paragraph summary with several relevant references submitted in advance, a short presentation during class time and the final paper. Class participation could add another 5% to your grade. The final paper will either be an evaluation and critique of an existing cost-benefit analysis or a proposal of a benefit-cost study of an actual policy or program. Students will be able to update the class on their topic during the semester.

Standard workload. While the class only meets for 2.5 hours a week for 7 weeks, there will be a small number of how-to videos to watch on your own.
Instructor Supplied Information Last Updated:
2 November 2022

ClassInfo Links - Spring 2023 Public Affairs Classes Taught by Judy Temple

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