Social Cost Benefit Analysis

Social Cost Benefit Analysis

The social cost and benefit analysis is a method to support the decision-making of the national, provincial and municipal governments. Cost-benefit analyses are used for infrastructural projects, and also apply to, for example, area development projects, sustainable energy development and water and nature issues.


Decisio is responsible for carrying out various social cost and benefit analyses, cost and benefit key figures (CBA), cost effectiveness analyses (CEA) and quick-scan (S)CBAs. In addition, Decisio regularly tests SCBAs that have already been carried out and we provide basic and advanced SCBA courses to interested parties. In recent years, Decisio has carried out numerous SCBA studies for a wide range of clients. Among other things, Decisio is a partner of

Integral comparison

A social cost and benefit analysis helps to compare different alternatives for a project in an integrated manner. This is not just a financial consideration. After all, an SCBA also identifies other, non-financial effects. For example, when it comes to the effects on accessibility, the environment and the economy. In an MKBA, all social effects are expressed in euros as much as possible, so that an integrated comparison is possible. Would you like to know whether a SCBA is the right tool to use? Then take a look at the Decisio decision tree on social and economic assessments, which will quickly show you which tool you can best use for social and economic assessments.

Results SCBA

In general, an SCBA leads to the following results:

    • Integral overview of all social effects of a project (or programme). In the SCBA, all relevant advantages and disadvantages of an (investment) project are identified and quantified. These effects are also ‘appreciated’ so that they can easily be compared with each other. Effects that cannot be expressed in monetary terms are always stated separately and clearly described in an SCBA.
    • The analysis focuses on the distribution of the social costs and benefits of a project. In other words, which parties benefit from it; but also who may be inconvenienced by it. As in the case of infrastructure projects, for example; these can lead to inconvenience for local residents, while the benefits of such projects accrue to other parties involved, such as road users. In addition, it is important whether the effects are regional or, in particular, national.
    • Comparison of different alternatives of the project in question. The cost-benefit analysis is eminently suitable for clearly comparing different project alternatives so that a trade-off between different project alternatives is also possible.
    • Identifying any uncertainties and risks. The SCBA takes into account possible economic uncertainties and risks
      The way in which the process in the execution of an (M)CBA is shaped can also contribute to a high degree of consensus and support among all stakeholders of a project.

    Prioritising projects

    In addition to comparing alternatives of the same project, an SCBA also makes it possible to compare different projects with each other. This can be useful, for example, when drawing up spatial and/or infrastructural investment programmes. Projects with the highest social return deserve to be included as a priority in investment and implementation programmes. The SCBA provides policymakers with as much objective information as possible to set these priorities.

  • Market research
  • Evaluations
  • Economic Impact Assessment

Relevant projects

Social Cost Benefit Analysis of the Bicycle

Amsterdam choses the bridge over the IJ

Workshop on social cost benefit analysis for bicycle investments