Cost Benefit Analysis Example

Cost Benefit Analysis Example

Cost-benefit analysis is a systematic process used to evaluate the potential benefits and costs of a decision, project, or action. It’s a way of assessing whether the advantages of a particular choice outweigh the disadvantages in terms of financial, social, and other factors. This analysis helps individuals, businesses, and governments make more informed decisions by considering both quantitative and qualitative aspects.

Example: Building a New Park Let’s say a city is considering building a new park in a downtown area. Here’s how cost-benefit analysis could be applied:


  1. Land acquisition: $1 million
  2. Construction costs: $2.5 million
  3. Annual maintenance: $50,000


  1. Increased property values for nearby homes and businesses: $3 million
  2. Improved community well-being and quality of life: Intangible benefit
  3. Potential increase in tourism and local spending: $500,000 per year

After assigning values and calculating, the net benefit over a 10-year period might be: Total Benefits: $3 million (property values) + $500,000/year * 10 years (tourism) = $8 million Total Costs: $1 million (land) + $2.5 million (construction) + $50,000/year * 10 years (maintenance) = $3 million

Net Benefit = Total Benefits – Total Costs = $8 million – $3 million = $5 million

In this example, the positive net benefit suggests that building the new park could be a worthwhile project, as it is expected to provide significant economic and community benefits over the 10-year period.

Example: Upgrading Manufacturing Equipment


  1. Cost of new equipment: $1.5 million
  2. Installation and training costs: $200,000
  3. Downtime during transition: Estimated loss of $100,000 in production


  1. Increased production efficiency: Expected annual cost savings of $400,000
  2. Reduced maintenance costs: Expected annual savings of $50,000
  3. Improved product quality: Intangible benefit
  4. Employee morale boost due to modern equipment: Intangible benefit

After assigning values and calculating, let’s look at the potential net benefit over a 5-year period:

Total Benefits: Annual cost savings: $400,000 + $50,000 = $450,000/year * 5 years = $2.25 million

Total Costs: Cost of new equipment: $1.5 million Installation and training: $200,000 Downtime: $100,000

Total Costs = $1.5 million + $200,000 + $100,000 = $1.8 million

Net Benefit = Total Benefits – Total Costs = $2.25 million – $1.8 million = $450,000

In this example, the positive net benefit of $450,000 suggests that upgrading the manufacturing equipment could lead to increased efficiency and cost savings over the 5-year period. While some benefits, like improved product quality and employee morale, are more challenging to quantify, the potential financial gains support the decision to invest in the equipment upgrade.

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