GY455      Half Unit
Economic Appraisal and Valuation

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Giles Atkinson S302 and Prof Susana Mourato S420


This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in City Design and Social Science, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation, MSc in Regional And Urban Planning Studies, MSc in Risk and Finance, MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in Urbanisation and Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course is concerned with the foundations and practical use of applied economics in the context of project appraisal and policy evaluation and will include the following content. Introduction to economic aspects of project appraisal and cost-benefit analysis. Efficiency, equity and distributional concerns. Measurement of costs and benefits with a specific emphasis on practical methods to value non-market goods and services. The application of project appraisal methods to policy sectors such as transport, health and the environment. Seminars and lectures will focus extensively on applied case studies and the tools involved in the appraisal of projects by for example development agencies such as The World Bank. Examples particularly from environmental, health, development and transport policy in the developed and developing world.


12 hours of lectures and 8 hours of seminars in the LT.

Indicative reading

Detailed reading lists will be provided to support each course component. Emphasis will be placed on texts, case study material and state-of-the-art contributions to, for example, the literature on non-market valuation. For an overview and introduction to the main issues covered by the course, students may wish to consult the following: G Atkinson and S Mourato, "Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Environment", OECD Environment Working Paper No. 97; AE Boardman et al, Cost-Benefit Analysis: Concepts and Practice, 2011 (chapters 1 and 2); N Hanley and EB Barbier Pricing Nature: Cost-Benefit Analysis and Environmental Policy, 2009; G de Rus Introduction to Cost-Benefit Analysis: Looking for Reasonable Shortcuts, 2011.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 19.4
Merit 44.9
Pass 32.5
Fail 3.2

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2015/16: 103

Average class size 2015/16: 21

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills