De Zeeuw, A., R.J. in ’t Veld, D. van Soest, L. Meuleman and P. Hoogewoning
This report reviews the theoretical literature and the current debate on the valuation of environmental goods and services, on the discounting of future benefits and costs, and on how social cost benefit analysis (SCBAs) can be integrated in the policy and decisionmaking process. It is concluded that SCBA can be a good decision support method in environmental policy-making if it is transparent and if all impacts are taken into account. Furthermore, the SCBA process should be participative, and politicians must be prepared to take responsibility for the assumptions behind the SCBA, including the assumptions on valuation and on the discount rate. Such a political role makes each SCBA a unique product of a politically responsible actor, and makes it possible for other stakeholders to have calculated an alternative SCBA based on their own assumptions. The report also contains the proceedings of the international SCBA conference organised by RMNO on 16-17 January 2008.