From scholarly idea to budgetary institution: The emergence of cost-benefit analysis

Michael D. Makowsky, Richard E. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) is typically portrayed as a technique for promoting efficiency in government. We don't deny that CBA can be used in this manner, but instead focus on a different property of CBA, namely, its evolution from scholarly musings into a framing institution within which budgetary processes operate. The evolution of CBA into institutional status, moreover, shows the value of bringing a polyarchical perspective to bear on fiscal organization, wherein budgetary outcomes emerge through structured interaction among participants. CBA is a product of interaction within a political ecology, as distinct from being the product of some person's optimizing choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-70
Number of pages14
JournalConstitutional Political Economy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009


  • Agenda setting
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Emergence of institutions
  • Polycentrism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law


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