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Der Wert der Sicherheit: Anmerkungen zur Ökonomie der Sicherheit
[The value of safety: Some remarks on the economics of safety]


  • Entorf, Horst


Safety is costly, but lack of safety can be even more expensive. This contribution considers the various dimensions of “Economics of Safety”, ranging from safety at work to road safety, terrorism and crime. Economic science helps to understand the role of safety as a (public or private) good which is supplied and demanded under technological and budgetary constraints as well as individual incentives. However, realized equilibrium levels of safety might be affected by market failure, for instance due to moral hazard problems. The paper highlights the need for regulated safety markets and minimum standards. The level of safety in a society depends on the opportunity costs of non-realized safety levels. For instance, when societal costs of crime are considered exuberant, public pressure will be high and more police would be hired. Thus, measuring costs of lacking safety and willingness-to-pay for security measures are crucial for practical policy and empirical aspects of the economics of safety. This paper presents common approaches found in the literature which distinguish between direct and indirect costs as well as between tangible and intangible costs. An illustrative example is taken from the calculation of societal costs of fatal traffic accidents which is contrasted by the way such costs measures are considered in the health sector and the economics of crime. Approaches are similar but differ in the evaluation of pain, harm and mental illness. Future policy advice would benefit from standardisation of intangible cost measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Entorf, Horst, 2013. "Der Wert der Sicherheit: Anmerkungen zur Ökonomie der Sicherheit
    [The value of safety: Some remarks on the economics of safety]
    ," MPRA Paper 49692, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:49692

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hammitt, James K & Graham, John D, 1999. "Willingness to Pay for Health Protection: Inadequate Sensitivity to Probability?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 33-62, April.
    2. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L., 1992. "Valuing public goods: The purchase of moral satisfaction," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 57-70, January.
    3. Paul R. Portney, 1994. "The Contingent Valuation Debate: Why Economists Should Care," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 3-17, Fall.
    4. Tilman Brück & Hella Engerer, 2009. "Ökonomie der Sicherheit: Editorial," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 78(4), pages 5-10.
    5. Ludwig, Jens & Cook, Philip J, 2001. "The Benefits of Reducing Gun Violence: Evidence from Contingent-Valuation Survey Data," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 207-226, May.
    6. Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
    7. Holz-Rau, Christian & Scheiner, Joachim, 2011. "Safety and travel time in cost-benefit analysis: A sensitivity analysis for North Rhine-Westphalia," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 336-346, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Entorf, Horst, 2014. "Jenseits der Fallzahlen: Die Kriminalitätsentwicklung bei ökonomischer Bewertung der Schäden," IZA Standpunkte 73, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    Public Goods; safety economics; economic costs of accidents; intangible costs; safety market;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior

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