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The Basics of ED Impact Analysis
Cost-benefit reports are ubiquitous in economic development but the quality and relevance of these reports vary significantly. The lack of an industry standard concerning terminology and presentation contribute to broad confusion and misinterpretation. In many cases a high-quality cost-benefit report will help all sides better understand the good and the bad of what may come with a planned project and bring to light issues requiring further study. However, in too many instances these potentially useful reports are intimidating, opaque, and ultimately abandoned in favor of “gut feel”. This article is intended to help economic developers, their boards, and other stakeholders cut through the jargon and identify the hallmarks of a high-quality cost-benefit report so that they can utilize the report to its fullest potential.