Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Long’s Analyses of the ‘Value of a Statistical Life (VSL)’ Published in Social Indicators Research

Posted: 10/8/2021 (CSDE Workshop)

In early August, CSDE Affiliate Mark Long published, “Altruism and the Statistical Value of Human Life for Policy and Regulation,” in Social Indicators Research. The paper interrogates the current measurement of the ‘Value of Statistical Life’ used to evaluate the relative costs and benefits of policies in the US and how they affect mortality.  Long proposes an alternative metric that is adjusted for altruistic sentiment.  Long’s analyses reveals that by not accounting for health altruistic sentiments current VSL’s are underestimates of the valuing of life in policy and program regulatory review.  These underestimates are particularly dramatic for child health altruistic sentiment, yielding altruistic adjustments by a factor of three.

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