ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Academic Relations of Production and CBA

This paper begins with a discussion of three brief examples of the application versus non-application of cost-benefit analysis (CBA) or CBA-type approaches: the author's own early work on the comparative economics of community resource-use in south-east Asia; Michael Cernea's recent analysis of World Bank studies of resettlement; and thirdly, the ongoing debate in the US about national environmental accounting. The author examines the pattern of inter-disciplinary relations that is revealed in these examples, focusing on issues of differential inter-disciplinary prestige, inter-disciplinary borrowing, and the maturation cycles of inter-disciplinary fields. It conclude; with an examination, through parodies of CBA, of how emotional responses to boundary-crossing have led towards a partial and flawed vision of CBA and highlights the need to simultaneously both use and problematise CBA.

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