Understanding Diversity in Undergraduate Learning of Cost-Benefit Analysis

Sarah Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a case study that reflects on teaching an economic unit, Cost-benefit analysis (CBA), to a diverse undergraduate student body at the researcher’s institution. CBA is an applied economic technique that attempts to assess the economic efficiency of proposed public policies through the systematic prediction of social costs and social benefits. Students in this CBA unit are required to complete an online test, CBA report and a final examination. In the CBA Report, the students perform analytical work to explain the relationships among events, identify options, evaluate choices, and predict the effects of actions. This paper investigates the performance of four different student cohorts from 2019 to 2022. This paper aims to understand the differences in undergraduate students’ learning of CBA based on the diversity among students, and in particular whether any specific student demographic (defined by gender, age, course progress level, study load and domestic vs international students) experienced a disproportional impact. The findings are then used to contribute improvement in the teaching and learning of the unit in higher education. Practitioner Notes 1. The paper investigates student performance from 2019 to 2022 in CBA 2. The paper looks at diverse student demographics and its impact on learning 3. The paper notices gender difference in student performance 4. The paper finds that students’ aptitude with mathematical and knowledge of economic concepts have a strong impact on the CBA performance 5. The paper finds no consistent difference between domestic and international students’ performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of University Teaching and Learning Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2023


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