Designing Decisions

How can Data Visualisation Influence Better Economic Decision-Making

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Decision-making in professional fields has made a stark transition away from utility as the comparative metric in neoclassical economic frameworks. The result of which means a step towards the use of non-equatable variables for calculating the comparability between material, energy, and fiscal costs. While the traditional methods have their flaws, new methods also have their shortcomings. Understanding the flaws within neoclassical utilitarian economic frameworks makes for better overall decision-making without the problems accompanying the use of only heterodox economic methods. This thesis investigates the extent to which it is possible to build a new neoclassically oriented economic tool that allows the user to better understand the pitfalls of simple neoclassical economic modelling. By studying existing economic tools and interviewing experts, a design study is conducted; setting up requirements, building, and testing the tool for feasibility. The results indicate that while this new web-based tool for cost-benefit analysis is more user-friendly than spreadsheet applications, it fails at its primary task of having users more easily intuit the shortcomings inherent within cost-benefit analyses.