A cross-border perspective on ‘standing’ in cost-benefit analysis

Crawford School Working Paper 1711
Author name: 
Leo Dobes

The concept of ‘standing’ – whose benefits and costs should be counted – is well-established, and its specification is a crucial step in conducting a Cost-Benefit Analysis. But it is often ignored by analysts. From a national perspective, the orthodox formulation of ‘standing’ is ‘the whole of society’, or at least the legal citizens of the country concerned. The underlying rationale appears to be that benefits should be counted only for those who pay for a project through their taxes. Little or no academic attention has been given to ‘standing’ at the sub-national level in federations such as Australia or the USA. However, the general lack of concordance between taxation areas and benefit regions suggests that ‘standing’ in the border regions of contiguous states should be deemed to possess a national perspective, at least as a default position.

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