Making cost-benefit analysis work for you

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This course currently has no scheduled dates. To express interest in this course or to discuss bespoke options for yourself or your organisation, please submit an expression of interest or contact the Professional Education Team on +61 2 5114 5573 or


2 days

Delivery mode

In person



Standard price


Accelerate your career, learn new skills, and expand your knowledge.

First in Australia for research excellence and impact.

Top 50 in the world. 2020 QS World University Rankings.


We use cost-benefit analysis (CBA) as a method to evaluate value for money for new projects or regulatory changes. If the sum is positive, it means the benefits exceed the costs, and we should undertake the project as it increases efficiency and value to society. Conversely, if the sum is negative, we draw the opposite conclusion. We designed this course for managers who need to understand the workings and limitations of CBA, rather than fostering technical expertise for specialists who already perform CBA analyses in their daily work. In this course, we highlight the functioning of CBA, its weaknesses, and the 'grey areas' that may be overlooked but have a substantive impact on the final result. We use real examples to make the course interactive.

Course content

Day one

  • Why CBA: thinking about efficiency and transparency
  • How CBA works in practice: using applications to:
    • identify the perimeter of the project
    • estimate benefits and costs
    • justify chosen measurement indicators
    • quantify impact of the project over its lifetime
  • How CBA works in practice (continued): using applications to:
    • attach a dollar value to all impacts
    • discount benefits and costs
    • compute the net present value of the project and its alternatives

Day two

  • Making a sensible sensitivity analysis
  • Making use, and possibly abusing, of CBA

Learning outcomes

Skills/competencies/knowledge that would be gained through this course:
  • the structure of CBA reports
  • what should and should not be included in CBA
  • which methodology to apply when targeting efficiency vs value for money
  • estimating benefits: which approach?
  • ‘seeing' a CBA through a spreadsheet
  • sensitivity analysis: a key step to understanding drivers of benefits and costs
  • Key weaknesses for using, or abusing, CBA

Who should attend

Managers of units using CBA and in need of a hands-on understanding of what CBA numbers actually tell.


Professor Massimiliano Tani

Professor Massimiliano (Max) Tani teaches graduate level Finance at UNSW Canberra. Prof. Tani carries out applied research with an economic angle and business/policy implications, mostly related to individual decision making.

Prof. Tani is a member of the Public Service Research Group in the School of Business at UNSW Canberra. Prof. Tani has a PhD in Economics from the Australian National University (Canberra, Australia) and a MSc Econ. from the LSE and Laurea from Bocconi University (Milan, Italy). Before moving to Australia in 1999, Prof. Tani spent a decade working in investment banking in the UK.

This course, Making cost-benefit analysis work for you, combines teaching techniques and research insights from across Prof. Tani's broad academic and professional background.

Cancellation policy

Courses will be held subject to sufficient registrations. UNSW Canberra reserves the right to cancel a course up to five working days prior to commencement of the course. If a course is cancelled, you will have the opportunity to transfer your registration or be issued a full refund. If registrant cancels within 10 days of course commencement, a 50% registration fee will apply. UNSW Canberra is a registered ACT provider under ESOS Act 2000-CRICOS provider Code 00098G.