Are future lives worth more, today, than our own – simply because of income growth? Open Access
The charge questions that EPA has presented to the EEAC for consideration this week
relate to the analytical foundations of a procedure for estimating the value of statistical lives
saved in the future – possibly the distant future – as a result of regulations imposed today.
Reductions in future mortality and morbidity are certainly important, and the valuation of these
benefits can be challenging. Intertwined with the detailed analytical questions, however, is a
fundamental ethical and methodological question: Is it right to force a relatively poor population
to pay an inflated price – higher than they are willing to pay to save their own lives – to save the
lives of a richer population, on the theory that rich people’s lives are more valuable?