The US Environmental Protection Agency has set the value of a human life at US$9.1 million, up from $6.8 million during the Bush Administration.

Maybe it’s time for our own Department of Finance and Deregulation to lift its “credible estimate” of the value of statistical life from $3.5 million.

As the Department puts it, this estimate is used to guide  “how officers preparing the cost-benefit analysis in Regulation Impact Statements should treat the benefits of regulations designed to reduce the risk of physical harm”. A higher value of statistical life means that, other things being equal, cost-benefit analyses are more likely to favour a higher level of  environmental and other regulatory protections.

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