The primary focus of this paper is to offer guidance on the analysis of time streams of effects that a project may have so that they can be discounted appropriately. This requires a framework that identifies the common parameters that need to be assessed, whether conducting cost-effectiveness or benefit-cost analysis. The quantification and conversion of the time streams of different effects into their equivalent health, health care cost or consumption effects avoids embedding multiple arguments in discounting policies. This helps to identify where parameters are likely to differ in particular contexts, what type of evidence would be relevant, what is currently known and how this evidence might be strengthened. The current evidence available to support the assessment of the key parameters is discussed and possible estimates and default assumptions are suggested. Reporting the results in an extensive way is recommended. This makes the assessments required explicit so the impact of alternative assumptions can be explored and analysis updated as better estimates evolve. Some projects will have effects across different countries where some or all of these parameters will differ. Therefore, the net present value of a project will be the sum of the country specific net present values rather than the sum of effects across countries discounted at some common rate.
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