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2021/22 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

TRAN5060M Welfare Economics and Cost-Benefit Analysis

15 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Thijs Dekker

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Evaluating the welfare implications of projects and public policies is not an easy task. The Green Book and the Transport Appraisal Guidance provide substantial guidance for practitioners. In order to successfully and correctly apply these guidelines, a thorough understanding of the underlying concepts of welfare economics is required. The Welfare Economics and Cost-Benefit Analysis module provides the essential building blocks and methodologies underlying such exercises.


Welfare Economics and Cost-Benefit Analysis aims for students to understand, interpret and contextualise the framework of welfare economics that underlies project and policy appraisal methods, such as cost benefit analysis, used in many countries of the world. It will provide the required theoretical background, introduce and contrast methods for implementation, and illustrate its applications.

Learning outcomes
1.Define and describe the key classical welfare economic concepts underlying cost-benefit analysis
2. Compare and contrast classical welfare economic concepts based on their strengths and limitations
3. Explain, interpret and contextualise how welfare economic concepts can be put into to practice using relevant methodologies.
4. Understand and illustrate the restrictions and limitations of the welfare economic concepts when put into practice
5. Recognise how welfare economics, especially through cost-benefit analysis, informs policy makers in the UK and beyond


Welfare Economics and Cost-Benefit presents the core economic concepts, e.g. (potential) Pareto improvements and Social Welfare that enable the appraisal of projects and public policy. In moving from its grounding in utility theory to real world applications, existing and new methods are presented to infer welfare implications from observed behaviour. The challenges and compromises that are inherent in operationalising the welfare economics framework, e.g. through cost-benefit analysis, are illustrated using examples and available (UK) guidance for policy makers.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours128.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Through performance in coursework, and informal interaction in class.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportWritten Report33.30
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)33.30

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins66.70
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)66.70

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 16:26:24


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