Ex Post Evaluation of the ERDF in Objectives 1 & 2 (2000-2006)

Work Package 10: Efficiency (major projects)

The tenth Work Package of the ex post evaluation aimed to define and determine the unit costs of major projects co-financed by the ERDF. The sample of 96 major projects examined by the evaluator contained both infrastructure (transport, environment, and energy) and productive investment projects. This study will be a basis for further evaluation in this area and, complemented with the ex post evaluation of the Cohesion Fund, will lead to the development of a unit cost database for infrastructure projects.

General findings:
Optimism bias (the general tendency that planned time and cost of projects is insufficient) is a widespread phenomenon independent of sectors or geography, and it is generally recognised in the literature.
Data quality problems are also widespread. The lack of good quality data prevents the development of solid benchmark figures.
Publicly available data on unit costs differ not only in the details of different components of projects, but also in the cost categories included (land purchase, taxes, ancillary objects, etc.), which makes comparisons across projects with non-standardised data sets impossible.

Findings related to major infrastructure projects:
The projects in the sample show that 51% of the projects exceeded their budget, with an average cost overrun of 21%. 75% of the projects were subject to some delay, and the average time delay is 26%. These figures roughly correspond to the figures in the literature.
While in most cases some sensitivity analysis and risk assessment had been done, results were not used for a risk mitigation strategy.

Findings related to major productive investment projects:
Analysing the cost of job creation by productive investments gives meaningless results due to several factors (very different nature of projects, data quality and accessibility problems, job creation potential mainly depending on labour/capital ratio, etc.).


  • Final Report pdf en
  • Executive Summary pdf en en en
  • Infrastructure database xls en
  • Data spreadsheets of infrastructure projects xls en
  • Terms of Reference pdf en
  • Inception report pdf en
  • First interim report – Review of existing literature and evaluations pdf en
  • Second interim Report pdf en


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