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Commodity, the bias of the world (W. Shakespeare, King John, II.1)

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This paper is a survey primarily for non-specialists of the “value of life” controversy, and its relevance to the environment. Many projects which affect the environment also cause or prevent human deaths. For explicit inclusion of the effects on mortality in the cost-benefit assessment, and for consistency within and between projects, monetary valuation is required. There are objections to “pricing life” and to the various methods, but the willingness to pay for risk reduction seems the best approach available. Some recent UK studies suggest a minimum value of £2 million per death.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/30673/

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