Adam F. Scales


value of a statistical life, VSL, administrative law, cost-benefit analysis, Professor Kip Viscusi


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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.