All economic evaluations of policies or programs require measures of costs. Each activity under consideration in the CEA must be counted separately. For CEA, typically only the direct costs of the program itself are considered; the costs of individuals, such as travel time or waiting time, are excluded. The latter are necessary if a full societal perspective of resources is desired, as is the case for CBA.
For the NMEP, one could collect costs on each of the five major NMEP activities and to restrict attention to programmatic costs. Costs may be classified as either fixed or variable. Fixed costs do not vary in the short run, usually around 1 year, and include items such as buildings, equipment, Web site development, and some wages and salaries. Variable costs depend on the level of activity of the program and include items such as printed materials, telecommunications, and many labor costs. The two types are summed to estimate total costs, which serve as the metric for a CEA study.