How many dollars is a human life worth to the US government?
August 16, 2013 3:38 PM Subscribe
On NPR today, I heard an explanation of why there are less safety requirements for cargo planes than for passenger planes: Every time the government (USA) wants to implement a new safety measure, they are required to run a cost/benefits analysis. Since an accident on a passenger plane can kill a whole bunch of people, while one on a cargo plane is likely to only kill the pilot and the copilot, it's more difficult to get a safety measure past the required threshold on the cost/benefits for a cargo plane than for a passenger plane. This to me implies that they must have put a dollar value on each human life; otherwise they couldn't compare cost in dollars versus benefit in lives saved. What is that price?
posted by Flunkie to law & government (7 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I imagine that there may be other situations, unrelated to planes or transportation or whatever, in which a similar thing is done, and I imagine different prices might be used in different comparisons by different parts of the government. I'm not strictly interested specifically in this plane situation alone; I'm just using it as an example. I'm interested in any such dollar value placed on a life for the purposes of cost/benefit analyses by the government.