Fix flawed values of statistical life and life years to get better policy outcomes - NZIER Insight 16
June 16, 2010
When taxpayers' money is spent on health and safety measures in transport and healthcare services, the decisions made implicitly or explicitly place values on saving lives and casualties. In recent years there has been a move towards using standard measures of these values so that there is some consistency in decisions. This is to be welcomed, but if the measures are flawed then decision-makers can unwittingly pick the wrong projects that do not deliver maximum value for money. Given the billions of dollars of taxpayers' money at stake in health and transport services, the return on fixing such flaws is high. Such a fix could start with a review of how these estimates are made and used in different policy areas.