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Contemporary Fault Lines in Applied Economic Research

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A widely-cited social cost-benefit analysis conducted by the National Council of Applied Economic Research projected net benefi ts from the POSCO steel project in Odisha. Yet, a close examination of the report suggests a fl awed methodology and inexplicable changes in assumptions. As a result, the two primary benefi ts claimed for the POSCO project - employment and revenues to the state - seem to be grossly incorrect. The privatisation of base data used in some of the projections not only makes the task of verifi cation arduous, but also puts it beyond the reach of democratic oversight. The issues in applied economic research in this case can be seen as symptomatic of structural problems in neo-liberal policymaking.

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