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CEP occasional paper
Regional differences in UK transport BCRs: an empirical assessment
Nicolás González-Pampillón and Henry G. Overman
September 2020
Paper No' CEPOP53:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: R40; R42

Tags: transport appraisal; value for money; benefit to cost ratio; spatial disparities

The UK government uses a Value for Money (VfM) framework to help allocate infrastructure expenditure. At the core of this framework is a benefit to cost ratio (BCR) that is calculated using a set of established monetised impacts and costs, according to Green Book guidance. As part of the debate around transport spending in the UK, it has been argued that these BCRs are biased towards London and the South East. We use a set of BCRs, compiled for the Eddington study, to consider the determinants of variation in BCRs and whether these differ systematically across UK regions. Our descriptive analysis controls for basic scheme characteristics and finds no strong evidence of significant regional differences. While the BCRs in Eddington form the basis for claims made in existing studies a larger set of schemes, evaluated according to current guidelines and including BCRs for unfunded schemes, would be needed to perform a more definitive analysis.