Adam F. Scales


The Article is in response to Professor Kip Viscusi's "Monetizing the Benefits of Risk and Environmental Regulation." It emphasizes several issues Viscusi's "value of a statistical life" (VSL) methodology fails to capture: (1) the distinction and difference in value between willingness to pay for a regulation and willingness to accept; (2) the fact that the many risks, for which regulations have been adopted, are so slight that the value to many is actually the value of not seeing someone else suffer harm in the absence of regulation; (3) real life irrational decision-making does not easily fit into an economic value; and (4) most people are unaware of the risks they undertake when they decide to perform a certain action. It concludes VSLs may provide proper guidance to decision-makers, but should not be used as the exclusive methodology for deciding whether to regulate.