GY455      Half Unit
Economic Appraisal and Valuation

This information is for the 2024/25 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Giles Atkinson and Dr Stephen Jarvis


This course is available on the 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 Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environment and Development) (LSE and Peking University), MSc in Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environmental Economics and Climate Change) (LSE and Peking University), MSc in Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environmental Policy and Regulation) (LSE and Peking University), MSc in Geographic Data Science, MSc in Local Economic Development, MSc in Regional And Urban Planning Studies, 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.

The number of students that can be accommodated is limited. If the course is over-subscribed, places will be allocated at the Department’s discretion and a waiting list may be created. For further details, please contact your relevant Programme Coordinator

Course content

This course is concerned with the foundations and practical use of applied economics in the context of project appraisal and policy evaluation. Course content will be drawn from the following. 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 use of appraisal and evaluation in policy processes. The application of project appraisal and policy evaluation methods to policy sectors such as transport, health and the environment. Seminars and lectures will focus on applied case studies and the practical tools involved in the appraisal of projects and policies. Examples particularly from environmental, health, development and transport policy across a range of countries.


In the Department of Geography and Environment, teaching will be delivered through a combination of classes/seminars, pre-recorded lectures, live online lectures, in-person lectures and other supplementary interactive live activities.


This course will be delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures across Winter Term.


This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Winter Term. 

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; G Atkinson et al. (2018) Cost-Benefit Analysis and the Environment: Further Developments and Uses, 2018; AE Boardman et al, Cost-Benefit Analysis: Concepts and Practice, 2018 (chapters 1 and 2). 


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the ST.

A 4000 word essay linked to real-life examples of economic appraisal and valuation

Student performance results

(2020/21 - 2022/23 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 40.4
Merit 43.4
Pass 16.2
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Geography and Environment

Total students 2023/24: 117

Average class size 2023/24: 24

Controlled access 2023/24: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

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