Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Machinery of GovernmentPublic Administration and the Liberal State$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Joseph Heath

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197509616

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197509616.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

Cost-Benefit Analysis as an Expression of Liberal Neutrality

Cost-Benefit Analysis as an Expression of Liberal Neutrality

(p.187) 5 Cost-Benefit Analysis as an Expression of Liberal Neutrality
The Machinery of Government

Joseph Heath

Oxford University Press

The past few decades have seen an expansion in the use of cost-benefit analysis as a tool for policy evaluation in the public sector. This slow, steady creep has been a source of consternation to many philosophers and political theorists, who are inclined to view cost-benefit analysis as simply a variant of utilitarianism and consider utilitarianism to be completely unacceptable as a public philosophy. The chapter shows that this impression is misleading. When construed narrowly, cost-benefit analysis does look a lot like utilitarianism. However, when it is seen in its broader context, in the way that it is applied, and the types of problem to which it is applied, it is better understood as an attempt by the state to avoid taking sides with respect to various controversial conceptions of the good.

Keywords:   cost-benefit analysis, Pareto efficiency, regulation, public goods, liberal neutrality, utilitarianism

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .