IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ind/isipdp/03-02.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Valuing lives equally: Distributional weights for welfare analysis

Author

Listed:
  • E.Somanathan

    () (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi
    Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)

Abstract

Cost-benefit analysis as performed by governments and public-sector organisations typically applies equal weights to changes in incomes accruing to individuals from projects even when there is no proposal to compensate losers. One reason for the use of equal weights despite the absence of a theoretical justification for this practice is that all weights appear arbitrary. This note proposes the use of weights based on two axioms: (1) that all lives should be equally valued, and (2) that the monetary value attached to a person's life should be his or her own. This implies weights that are proportional to the reciprocals of the values of statistical lives

Suggested Citation

  • E.Somanathan, 2003. "Valuing lives equally: Distributional weights for welfare analysis," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 03-02, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  • Handle: RePEc:ind:isipdp:03-02
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.isid.ac.in/~pu/dispapers/dp03-02.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Azar, Christian & Sterner, Thomas, 1996. "Discounting and distributional considerations in the context of global warming," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 169-184, November.
    2. Dreze, Jean & Stern, Nicholas, 1987. "The theory of cost-benefit analysis," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 14, pages 909-989 Elsevier.
    3. Sen, Amartya, 1973. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198281931.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Gunawardena, U.A.D. Prasanthi, 2010. "Inequalities and externalities of power sector: A case of Broadlands hydropower project in Sri Lanka," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 726-734, February.
    2. Henrik Andersson & Nicolas Treich, 2011. "The Value of a Statistical Life," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 17 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Rachel Baker & Susan Chilton & Michael Jones-Lee & Hugh Metcalf, 2008. "Valuing lives equally: Defensible premise or unwarranted compromise?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 125-138, April.
    4. David Canning, 2007. "Valuing Lives Equally and Welfare Economics," PGDA Working Papers 2707, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
    5. David Canning, 2013. "Axiomatic Foundations For Cost‐Effectiveness Analysis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(12), pages 1405-1416, December.
    6. Adler, Matthew D. & Hammitt, James K. & Treich, Nicolas, 2014. "The social value of mortality risk reduction: VSL versus the social welfare function approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 82-93.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cost-benefit analysis; social welfare; value of life; distributional weights;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ind:isipdp:03-02. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamprasad M. Pujar). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/isindin.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.