Cost Benefit Analysis and Discounting Cost Benefit Analysis

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Cost Benefit Analysis and Discounting

Cost Benefit Analysis and Discounting

Cost Benefit Analysis: What is it? Good overviews of CBA: Paul Portney*; Matthew Kotchen**.

Cost Benefit Analysis: What is it? Good overviews of CBA: Paul Portney*; Matthew Kotchen**. Portney: “it is an attempt to identify and express in dollar terms all of the effects of proposed government policies or projects” It is a useful tool to assess the social welfare impacts of a project or policy. Many economists favor using it when assessing a project – though it still raises concerns in many quarters and can be difficult to get right. • See: Paul R. Portney, "Benefit-Cost Analysis. " The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. 2008. Library of Economics and Liberty. 4 September 2013. <http: //www. econlib. org/library/Enc/Benefit. Cost. Analysis. html>. ** Kotchen, Matthew J. , “Cost Benefit Analysis”, Encyclopedia of Climate and Weather 2 nd Edition, Stephen Schneider (ed. ), New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. <http: //environment. yale. edu/kotchen/pubs/CBAchap. pdf>.

Cost Benefit Analysis: How do we do it? Add up costs and add up

Cost Benefit Analysis: How do we do it? Add up costs and add up benefits; if net benefits are positive do the project! Simple, right? Not quite! Issue of measurement of costs and benefits. Often times, costs simpler – tend to be one-off and are market transactions e. g. one time cost of constructing a dam Benefits can be trickier e. g. what is the value of cleaner air after an emissions standard policy is implemented?

Cost Benefit Analysis: How do we do it? Methodological points: Need to turn to

Cost Benefit Analysis: How do we do it? Methodological points: Need to turn to non-market valuation techniques (travel cost method, contingent valuation). Need to be cognizant of timing of costs and benefits – costs and benefits can be out in the future.

Cost Benefit Analysis: Debatable Issues 1. Discount rate – the value of future events

Cost Benefit Analysis: Debatable Issues 1. Discount rate – the value of future events 2. Distribution of income – wealth may affect willingness to pay for a benefit 3. Compensation (Kaldor-Hicks criterion) – always winners and losers but will losers be compensated?

Discounting: What is it? Many times we want to assess value of events in

Discounting: What is it? Many times we want to assess value of events in the future e. g. costs and benefits that occur in the future. Projects span time – activities occur over many months/years. How do we think about activities that have value but occur at times other than the present? Idea: reduce all future values to a common present value.

Discounting: What is it? We need to convert future values into a present value.

Discounting: What is it? We need to convert future values into a present value. To do this we discount the future back to the present. Why? Because: money today is worth more than money tomorrow. The discount rate is a product of society’s time value of money (composed of the pure rate of time preference and the goods discount rate).

Discounting: How do we do it? Use this formula to convert all future values

Discounting: How do we do it? Use this formula to convert all future values to present values: PV = FVt/(1 + r)t Where PV is present value, FV is future value, r is the discount rate and t is time.

Discounting: How do we do it? Let’s use that formula. What is the value

Discounting: How do we do it? Let’s use that formula. What is the value of a $100 tomorrow (one period in the future)? Assume discount rate, r, is set to 0. 05 Then, PV = FVt/(1 + r)t ÞPV = 100/(1 + 0. 05)1 ÞPV = $95. 2381

Discounting: How do we do it? By the way: opposite of discounting is compounding

Discounting: How do we do it? By the way: opposite of discounting is compounding If we have a present value and wish to see what the future value is, we use compounding FVt = PV(1 + r)t

Discounting: The Debate! Choice of discount rate is at the heart of CBA controversies

Discounting: The Debate! Choice of discount rate is at the heart of CBA controversies It is a key issue as it determines whether a project is beneficial or not, whether a project should be implemented or not Two major schools of thought: Descriptive: We observe the rate of return in the market (e. g. Nordhaus) Prescriptive: We derive the discount rate based on philosophical/ethical basis (e. g. Stern)

Discounting: The Debate! Regardless of how it is derived, the important thing is how

Discounting: The Debate! Regardless of how it is derived, the important thing is how high it is set. High discount rate = we don’t value the future as much as the present Low discount rate = we value the future almost as much as the present

Case Study: Irrigation as an Adaptation to Climate Change Climate change affects temperature and

Case Study: Irrigation as an Adaptation to Climate Change Climate change affects temperature and precipitation among other climate phenomena Changes in the hydrological cycle will be some of the most obvious changes that will affect agriculture Irrigation systems are a way to adapt to changes in the hydrologic cycle (especially changes in the quantity and timing of precipitation)

“The prices of staple foods are at near historic lows, and stockpiles are adequate.

“The prices of staple foods are at near historic lows, and stockpiles are adequate. This is a situation that would be inconceivable without the last half-century's investments in irrigation. ” “Irrigation is the largest recipient of public agricultural investment in the developing world. ” (World Bank (1995))

Senegal Irrigation Project Nianga Irrigation Pilot Project (NIPP). Life-span of about 30 years. One

Senegal Irrigation Project Nianga Irrigation Pilot Project (NIPP). Life-span of about 30 years. One of the analyses of this project provided a very clear schedule of costs and benefits. Measured in thousands of 1975 CFA Francs (Senegalese currency) * Weiler, Edward M. and Wallace E. Tyner (1981). Social Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Nianga Irrigation Pilot Project, Senegal. The Journal of Developing Areas , Vol. 15, No. 4 (Jul. , 1981), pp. 655 -670.

Cost and Benefit Stream of NIPP Period of Time Benefit Schedule Cost Schedule Net

Cost and Benefit Stream of NIPP Period of Time Benefit Schedule Cost Schedule Net Benefit Schedule Note: we’re only considering agricultural output as a benefit and no others. However a whole slew of other benefits (unmeasured in this project) do exist. : (1) agricultural production; (2) production of rice seed; (3) increased knowledge of the agronomy of irrigated agriculture in the Fleuve Region; (4) improved technical skills of both the farmers who participate in the Pilot Project and those who receive training from the B. I. T. Center; and (5) shelter provided by the 17 houses at Cite SAED

Should we go ahead with this project? We need to determine if the total

Should we go ahead with this project? We need to determine if the total benefits exceed the total costs If benefits > costs then the project is worth doing As discussed, we will discount all future costs and benefits to their present value

Results Total Agricultural Year Period Benefits Total Cost Benefits without Project Net Benefits Discount

Results Total Agricultural Year Period Benefits Total Cost Benefits without Project Net Benefits Discount Rate PV(TB) 5% PV(TC) 5% BC Ratio 1973 0 0. 0 31, 320. 7 7, 248. 0 -38, 568. 7 0. 05 0. 0 31320. 7 . 1974 1 0. 0 354, 174. 0 7, 248. 0 -361, 422. 0 0. 05 0. 0 337308. 571 . 1975 2 43, 781. 3 512, 089. 9 7, 248. 0 -475, 556. 6 0. 05 39710. 9 464480. 635 . 1976 3 157, 552. 7 124, 573. 8 PV of 7, 248. 0 25, 730. 9 0. 05 TB: 2, 746, 329. 56 136099. 9 107611. 532 . 1977 4 135589. 3 119171. 662 . … … TC: 2, 490, 685. 93 164, 809. 6 144, 853. 9 PV of 7, 248. 0 12, 707. 7 0. 05 … …. BC Ratio: 1. 10…. … … … 1998 25 215, 364. 2 113, 642. 0 7, 248. 0 94, 474. 2 0. 05 63597. 6 33558. 7976 . 1999 26 215, 364. 2 113, 642. 0 7, 248. 0 94, 474. 2 0. 05 60569. 2 31960. 7596 . 2000 27 215, 364. 2 113, 642. 0 7, 248. 0 94, 474. 2 0. 05 57684. 9 30438. 8187 . 2001 28 215, 364. 2 113, 642. 0 7, 248. 0 94, 474. 2 0. 05 54938. 0 28989. 3511 . 2002 29 215, 364. 2 113, 642. 0 7, 248. 0 94, 474. 2 0. 05 52321. 9 27608. 9058 . Sum: 2, 746, 329. 56 2, 490, 685. 93 1. 10

Graph over Time: No Discounting and Discounting 600, 000. 0 500, 000. 0 400,

Graph over Time: No Discounting and Discounting 600, 000. 0 500, 000. 0 400, 000. 0 Total Agricultural Benefits 300, 000. 0 Total Cost 200, 000. 0 100, 000. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 600, 000. 00 500, 000. 00 400, 000. 00 PV(TB) 5% 300, 000. 00 PV(TC) 5% 200, 000. 00 100, 000. 00 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 B/C = 1. 10

Agricultural Productivity and Climate Change Benefits in NIPP are those of agricultural output (rice

Agricultural Productivity and Climate Change Benefits in NIPP are those of agricultural output (rice and tomatoes) What if future climate change reduces the possible output? This will require careful study – farmers may adapt their crop and input choice to a changed climate. For the moment, let’s make some simple assumptions: 50% chance that climate change induces a 25% decline in agricultural revenues per year. 50% chance that climate change induces a 25% increase in agricultural revenues per year. This change comes about in the 15 th year of the project.

Graph over Time: High, Low and Expected Benefits with Climate Damages Climate Change Kicks

Graph over Time: High, Low and Expected Benefits with Climate Damages Climate Change Kicks In 600, 000. 00 500, 000. 00 400, 000. 00 PV Benefits (High) PV Benefits (Low) 300, 000. 00 PV E(Benefits) PV Total Costs 200, 000. 00 100, 000. 00 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Result: E(B)/C = 1. 10264 But, BH/C = 1. 226883 BL/C = 0. 978396

Scenario: High Benefits with Climate Damages Climate Change Kicks In 600, 000. 00 500,

Scenario: High Benefits with Climate Damages Climate Change Kicks In 600, 000. 00 500, 000. 00 400, 000. 00 PV Benefits (High) 300, 000. 00 PV Total Costs 200, 000. 00 100, 000. 00 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 Result: BH/C = 1. 35

Hands-on Exercise Let us conduct the above cost benefit analysis We have already seen

Hands-on Exercise Let us conduct the above cost benefit analysis We have already seen the results but we can do a couple of new things: • Check the impact that the choice of discount rate has on our decision • Check the impact of climate change based on when it begins to impact our project

Hands-on Exercise Open Excel file titled “CBA and Discounting Exercise” Base Case Discount Rate

Hands-on Exercise Open Excel file titled “CBA and Discounting Exercise” Base Case Discount Rate Climate Damage (20 yrs) Climate Damage (15 yrs)