Are some lives more valuable? An ethical preferences approach

Peer Reviewed
1 January 2008

A theoretical model of the ethical preferences of individuals is tested by conducting a choice experiment on safety-enhancing road investments.

The relative value of a saved life is found to decrease with age, such that the present value of a saved year of life is almost independent of age at a pure rate of time preference of a few percent, and a saved car driver is valued 17-31% lower than a pedestrian of the same age. Moreover, individuals’ ethical preferences seem to be fairly homogenous.

Sustainable Development Goals

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Publication | 21 January 2013