In this Comment, I argue that the use of cost-benefit analysis to evaluate life-saving regulatory programs has, in a society that eschews reliance on cost-benefit analysis in other life-saving situations, been justified by the creation of a new kind of entity-the statistical person. A primary feature of the statistical person, as I will explain, is that she is unidentified; she is no one's sister, or daughter, or mother. Indeed, in one conception, the statistical person is not a person at all, but rather only a collection of risks. By distinguishing statistical lives from the lives of those we know, economic analysts have attempted to sidestep the uncomfortable fact that most of us profess ourselves quite incapable of identifying the monetary equivalent of the lives of our sisters, daughters, mothers, and friends.
24 Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. 189-207 (2000)
Scholarly Commons Citation
Heinzerling, Lisa, "The Rights of Statistical People" (2000). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 327.