Timeline of quantification of life
This is a timeline of quantification of life.
The following are some interesting questions that can be answered by reading this timeline:
- Monetary estimate
- Concept introduction
Numerical and visual data
The table below shows labor market studies on the value of life.
|Year||Author||VSL (in US$)|
|1982||Marin and Psacharopoulos||3,400,000|
|1984||Smith and Gilbert||800,000|
|1984||Leigh and Folsom||11,700,000|
|1991||Kniesner and Leith||700,000|
The table below shows value of statistical life (in 2000 US$) across nations.
|Year||Country||VSL minimum estimate||VSL maximum estimate|
The table below shows central estimate of value per statistical life, published in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Final Regulatory Impact Analysis for Particulate Matter.
|Health Endpoint||1990 Income Level||2020 Income Level|
|Premature Mortality (value of a statistical life)||$8,000,000||$9,600,000|
|Age 0–24 (heart attack at 3% discount rate)||$87,000||$87,000|
|Age 25–44 (heart attack at 3% discount rate)||$110,000||$110,000|
|Age 45–54 (heart attack at 3% discount rate)||$120,000||$120,000|
|Age 55–64 (heart attack at 3% discount rate)||$200,000||$200,000|
|Age 65 and over (heart attack at 3% discount rate)||$98,000||$98,000|
|Age 0–24 (heart attack at 7% discount rate)||$97,000||$97,000|
|Age 25–44 (heart attack at 7% discount rate)||$110,000||$110,000|
|Age 45–54 (heart attack at 7% discount rate)||$110,000||$110,000|
|Age 55–64 (heart attack at 7% discount rate)||$190,000||$190,000|
|Age 65 and over (heart attack at 7% discount rate)||$97,000||$97,000|
|Time period||Development summary||More details|
|1940s||The righ to life is both 'defined' and 'enumerated' in the international human rights instruments following World War Two.|
|1960s||"The QALY is a measure of the value of health outcomes. It was developed in the 1960s and early 1970s with a view to resolving the problem of comparing "apples and oranges" in priority setting in health care (Chiang 1965; Torrance 1970; Culyer et al. 1971). The idea was to refer such different outcomes as saved lives, increases in life expectancy, different kinds of functional improvement, and differ�ent kinds of symptom relief to the same value scale, whereby it would be possible to compare these various kinds of outcomes with each other."|
|1970s||Zeckhauser and Shepard first use the term quality-adjusted life year (QALY) to indicate a health outcome measurement unit that combines duration and quality of life. The underlying concept is formally shaped around this thime in the development of a "health status index". Researchers first attempt to monetize QALY.|
|Year||Month and date||Event type||Details|
|1931||The American Medical Association Bureau of Medical Economics is established to study all economic matters affecting the medical profession.|
|1958||"Selma Muskin published “Towards the definition of health economics” in 1958 and, four years the, "Health as an Investment." At that time, health was broadly regarded as rather a consumptive branch of the economy. Muhkin’s analysis was the first understanding that health investment had long-term beneficial consequences for the community. Probably, the single most famous and cited contribution to the discipline was Kenneth Arrow’s “Uncertainty and the welfare economics of medical care,” published in 1963."|
|1962||"Selma Muskin published “Towards the definition of health economics” in 1958 and, four years the, "Health as an Investment." At that time, health was broadly regarded as rather a consumptive branch of the economy. Muhkin’s analysis was the first understanding that health investment had long-term beneficial consequences for the community. Probably, the single most famous and cited contribution to the discipline was Kenneth Arrow’s “Uncertainty and the welfare economics of medical care,” published in 1963."|
|1962||Research||In a special conference issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Selma Mushkin articulates the case for investment in human beings through promoting better health. She argues that the return would be through future increases in labor earnings. If one more person were to live because of an investment in health, then national income would be greater by the amount that person would earn in the labor market.|
|1962||"Costs of Illness In valuing investments in health, Mushkin (1962) added to earnings the saving of future health expenditures. The sum of these health expenditures saved (direct costs) and the labor earnings not forgone (indirect costs) became known as the ‘cost of illness’ avoided. Cost of illness was used extensively because of the wide acceptance of the importance of investment in human beings and because estimation was manageable"|
|1963||Literature||Kenneth Arrow publishes an article that is often credited with giving rise to health economics as a discipline. His theory draws conceptual distinctions between health and other goods.|
|1968||Research||QALY is credited to work by Klarman et al.|
|1968||Research||Thomas Schelling distinguishes between earnings, which he refers to as livelihood, and value of life or living. In a paper about valuing ways to reduce the risk of death, he distinguishes between identified lives and statistical lives. "Identified lives are the miners trapped in a mine or the child with a terminal disease—specific people who need help now. Statistical lives are those people, unidentifiable before the fact and often after as well, who will be saved by a new safety regulation, public health program, or environmental standard. Schelling observed that people seem to be willing to pay more to save an identified life".|
|1968||Concept introduction||Thomas Schelling introduces the "value of statistical life" terminology in his essay The Life You Save May Be Your Own.|
|1972||American health economist Michael Grossman publishes his model of health production which would become extremely influential in health economics. Grossman's model views each individual as both a producer and a consumer of health. Health is treated as a stock which degrades over time in the absence of "investments" in health, so that health is viewed as a sort of capital. The model acknowledges that health is both a consumption good that yields direct satisfaction and utility, and an investment good, which yields satisfaction to consumers indirectly through fewer sick days. Investment in health is costly as consumers must trade off time and resources devoted to health, such as exercising at a local gym, against other goals. These factors are used to determine the optimal level of health that an individual will demand. The model makes predictions over the effects of changes in prices of healthcare and other goods, labour market outcomes such as employment and wages, and technological changes. These predictions and other predictions from models extending Grossman's 1972 paper form the basis of much of the econometric research conducted by health economists.|
|1973||Pressat (and later Ryder, 1975; Fries, 1980; and Manton, 1986) attempts to estimate the maximum lifespan for males and females. Using a range of modeling methods, estimates of the difference between male and female maximum lifespan range from 1.9 to 3.2 years, with females having greater lifespans than males.|
|1976||Zeckhauser and Shepard use for the first time the term quality-adjusted life year (QALY) to indicate a health outcome measurement unit that combines duration and quality of life.|
|1976||Richard Thaler and Sherwin Rosen develop the modern theory of compensating wage differential in which they adopt Hedonic wage function approach.|
|1977||Weinstein and Stason publish an article on the foundations of cost-effectiveness analysis for health care and medical practices. The authors recommend that "alternative programs or services are then ranked, from the lowest value to the highest, and selected from the top until available resources are exhausted."|
|1977||Weinstein and Stason, regarding cost-effectiveness analysis for health care and medical practices, recommend that "alternative programs or services are then ranked, from the lowest value to 23 Cost-Value Analysis in Health Care the highest, and selected from the top until available resources are exhausted."|
|1980||Pliskin et al. justify the QALY indicator using multiattribute utility theory: if a set of conditions pertaining to agent preferences on life years and quality of life are verified, then it is possible to express the agent's preferences about couples (number of life years/health state), by an interval (Neumannian) utility function.|
|1982||Literature (journal)||The Journal of Health Economics is launched.|
|1982||Research||Hodgson and Meiners describe cost-of-illness studies using a standardized accounting framework and methodology, enhancing the comparability of studies of different illnesses and conditions.|
|1985||Literature||John Harris publishes The Value of Life: An Introduction to Medical Ethics.|
|1985||"By 1985, Jones-Lee5 could report that the case for willingness to pay—the concept “that social decisions should, so far as possible, reflect the interests, preferences and attitudes to risk of those who are likely to be affected by the decisions”—had been “extensively developed in the literature.” More than that, it was accepted as a better way to think about valuing life-saving."|
|Mid-1980s||The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) begins using value of a statistical life estimates to value lives saved by environmental standards.|
|1986||"The Quality of Well-Being Scale (QWB, Kaplan and Anderson 1988) is another instrument that asks subjects to value health states on a rating scale. The instrument has wide use in North America, and a version of it was used as a basis for calculating QALYs when the state of Oregon set up its first draft priority list in 1991 for procedures to be covered by the state's Medicaid scheme (Oregon Health Services Commission 1991). But the QWB does no more than the EuroQol Instrument to induce subjects to think in cardinal terms. The utility scores it produces are therefore just as devoid of cardinal meaning as EuroQol numbers (Nord 1993c). In a seminal paper on utility measurement in health economics, Torrance (1986) is well aware of the above problem. He therefore stresses the need for researchers using a rating scale to make it clear to the subjects that the scale is supposed to have equal interval prop�erties. Presumably this implies giving examples like "If you think the increase in quality of life associated with moving from state A to state B is twice the increase associated with moving from B to C, then you should locate these three states on the scale such that the distance from A to B is twice the distance from B to C." But people do not normally think or speak of quality of life in cardinal terms. So in what sense might one increase in health yield twice as much as another? An answer could be offered in terms of willingness to sacrifice. But the rating scale exercise by definition does not ask about that. And the studies mentioned above tell us that subjects do not think in such terms when responding either"|
|1986||"In 1986, a group of health-care politicians, health administrators, health-care personnel, and representatives of patients were commis�sioned by the Norwegian government to set out guidelines for priori�tizing in the Norwegian National Health Service (Norwegian Priority Committee 1987). One of the main conclusions of the committee was that severity of illness should continue to be the most important crite�rion for prioritizing between patients, although this criterion should be considered together with the effectiveness of treatment. Since then, similar positions have been adopted by government-appointed com�missions in several other countries, Holland (Dutch Committee on Choices in Health Care 1992), New Zealand (Campbell and Gillett 1993), and Sweden (Swedish Health Care and Medical Priorities Com�mission 1993). Studies of population preferences support these official government positions."|
|1987||"Williams (1987a) similarly writes: "The implications of such calculations seems to me to be that we should not expand treatment capacity where cost-per-QALY is high if there are untreated patients due to lack of capacity in technologies offering low cost QALYs."|
|1988||"The Quality of Well-Being Scale (QWB, Kaplan and Anderson 1988) is another instrument that asks subjects to value health states on a rating scale. The instrument has wide use in North America, and a version of it was used as a basis for calculating QALYs when the state of Oregon set up its first draft priority list in 1991 for procedures to be covered by the state's Medicaid scheme (Oregon Health Services Commission 1991). But the QWB does no more than the EuroQol Instrument to induce subjects to think in cardinal terms. The utility scores it produces are therefore just as devoid of cardinal meaning as EuroQol numbers (Nord 1993c)."|
|1989||Research||Froberg and Kane (and later Richardson (1991)) report on many kinds of problems with QALYs, at the ethical, conceptual, and operational levels.|
|1989||Recommendation||Graham Loomes and Lynda McKenzie recommend that research be conducted concerning the validity of QALYs.|
|1990||The Global Burden of Disease Study begins.|
|1990||"USDA analyses include a study of the economic costs of congenital toxoplasmosis, which can result from handling raw meat or eating undercooked pork and other meats (Roberts and Frenkel, 1990). The present value of an infant's lifetime earnings, estimated at $983,000 (1989 dollars), is one component of the indirect costs of toxopolasmosis."|
|1990||Monetary estimate||Roberts and Pinner use an estimate that the value of forgone lifetime earnings is $1.1 million at the time per infant to estimate the economic costs of disease caused by Listeria monocytogenes.|
|1991||Research||Froberg and Kane (and later Richardson in 1991) report on the many kinds of problems with QALYs, at the ethical, conceptual, and operational levels.|
|1991||Research||As an approach to establish equity weights that could be used to rectify biases in QALY calculations as estimations of societal value, Wagstaff specifies a social welfare function that includes a parameter that, in principle, may be estimated by asking members of a society how much they are willing to sacrifice in the total production of QALYs across individuals or groups of individuals in order to obtain a more even distribution of health among those individuals or groups.|
|1992||Literature (journal)||Peer-reviewed academic journal Health Economics is established.|
|1993||"The societal concern for life saving was addressed in a joint Norwe�gian-Australian study (Nord and Richardson et al. 1993). Subjects were asked how they, thinking of themselves as members of parlia�ment, would evaluate two equally expensive proposed special units A and B. Unit A would save ten people per year from dying and restore full health. Unit B would restore to full health a number of people in 34 Concerns for Fairness the following state: "sitting in a wheelchair, pain most of the time, unable to work." The question put to the subjects was: How many patients must be treated in unit B per year in order that you would find it just as valuable to spend the money on unit B as on unit A? The median responses in Norway and Australia were 50 and 40, respectively. In another group of subjects, the condition treated in unit B was described instead as follows: "uses crutches for walking, light pain intermittently, unable to work." The median responses were then 110 and 85."|
|1993||The 1993 World Development Report introduces the concept of disability adjusted life years lost (DALYs) as a way to estimate and compare the burden of morbidity and premature mortality caused by widely varying conditions and states within and among countries.|
|1993||"Two studies have used time trade-off questions to find the relative value that people assign to life years at different stages in their own lives. In Holland, Busschbach et al. (1993) found the following implied relative values for ages 5, 10, 35, 60, and 70, respectively: 1.7, 1.6, 1.0, 0.7, 0.7. In Japan, Tsuchiya (1996) found much the same valuation in a sample of young respondents, while the values in a sample of older respondents were 0.6, 0.8, 1.0, 0.5, 0.3. Although both these studies clearly suggest support for policies that favor the young over the elderly, they do not tell us how strong this support is, since it does not follow from time trade-off based responses referring to subjects' own lives what person trade-offs these subjects would favor in allocat�ing resources across age groups."|
|1993||"Fryback et al. (1993) studied health-related quality of life in a ran�dom sample of 1,356 adults in a community population, using, among other instruments, a time trade-off questionnaire. Their report in�cludes twenty-five chronic conditions that affected a sufficient number of people to allow calculations of mean TTO-scores with 95 percent confidence intervals less than 15 percentage points. The willingness to sacrifice longevity (WTSL) in order to be cured of one specific illness was not observed directly, as the TTO refers to becoming healthy and most subjects had more than one condition. However, the authors estimated that the conditions associated with the highest disutilities were insulin dependent diabetes (WTSL = 24 percent), depression (17 percent), asthma (16 percent), and chronic bronchitis (14 percent). The willingness to sacrifice was only 5-8 percent in people with arthritis, severe back pain, migraine, angina, cataracts, ulcers, colitis, and sleep disorder"|
|1994||"Tsevat et al. (1994) applied the time trade-off technique in 1,438 se�riously ill patients with a projected overall six-month mortality rate of 86 The Limitations of Utility Measurement 50 percent. The patients had at least one of the following nine diseases: acute respiratory failure, acute exacerbation of severe chronic obstruc�tive pulmonary disease, acute exacerbation of severe chronic congestive heart failure, chronic liver failure with cirrhosis, nontraumatic coma, colon cancer metastatic to the liver, metastatic non-small-cell carcinoma of the lung, multiorgan system failure with malignancy, and multior�gan system failure with sepsis. The subjects were asked to choose (hy�pothetically) between one year in the current state and a shorter time period healthy. Responses varied widely. Mean willingness to sacrifice time was 27 percent, corresponding to a utility score of 0.73. Thirty-five percent of the patients were unwilling to exchange any time in their current state for a shorter life in excellent health."|
|1994||Tolley et al. provide a comparison of the cost of illness and the value of life based on an individual’s willingness to trade money and risk.|
|1994||Murray et al. propose a DALY minimization objective for health systems, strictly discussing allocation of total health sector resources, regardless of financing source, in order to minimize total DALYs for society.|
|1995||"Apart from the age weighting, DALYs are conceptually equivalent to QALYs, inasmuch as they combine reductions in morbidity and mortality in a single value index. However, disability weights for DALY calculations are, since 1995, based on a procedure for prefer�ence measurement that is quite different from those used in the QALY field. An important part of the criticism of QALYs presented in this book therefore does not apply to DALYs. On the other hand, there are other problems with DALYs that are worth looking into more closely. I briefly discuss what I perceive as a major problem in the final chapter. For an extensive discussion of DALYs, readers are referred to Anand and Hansson (1997) and Murray and Acharya (1997)."|
|1995||The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calculates that a life in an industrialized country is worth $1.5 million, whereas a life in a developing country was worth only $150,000.|
|1996||"Two studies have used time trade-off questions to find the relative value that people assign to life years at different stages in their own lives. In Holland, Busschbach et al. (1993) found the following implied relative values for ages 5, 10, 35, 60, and 70, respectively: 1.7, 1.6, 1.0, 0.7, 0.7. In Japan, Tsuchiya (1996) found much the same valuation in a sample of young respondents, while the values in a sample of older respondents were 0.6, 0.8, 1.0, 0.5, 0.3. Although both these studies clearly suggest support for policies that favor the young over the elderly, they do not tell us how strong this support is, since it does not follow from time trade-off based responses referring to subjects' own lives what person trade-offs these subjects would favor in allocat�ing resources across age groups."|
|1996||Literature||Stephen R. Kellert and Stephen H. Kellert publish The Value of Life: Biological Diversity And Human Society.|
|1996||"In a study in the United States, Ubel et al. (1996) obtained data from 42 students regarding their preferences in terms of person trade�offs for interventions that would cure people in four conditions of differing severity. The conditions were a cyst on the hand that would not disturb functioning but would occasionally cause mild pain; knee damage that would prevent people from exercizing, cause some diffi�culty when walking, and cause moderate pain one hour daily; con�stant, often severe headaches that could be decreased with medicines but not be eliminated without reducing the ability to concentrate; and appendicitis (which if untreated will cause death within hours or days). Time trade-off scores for the four conditions were: appendicitis: 0.0; headaches: 0.90; knee problem: 0.94; cyst: 0.99 (standard gamble scores were somewhat lower). Implied and directly measured person trade-offs between cures for these conditions were as in Table 2."|
|1996||Monetary estimate||Buzby, Roberts, Lin, and MacDonald include forgone lifetime earnings in their estimate that foodborne bacteria impose between $2.9 and $6.7 billion of economic costs. In an update a year later, Buzby and Roberts include estimates of the costs of Guillain-Barré‚ syndrome related to Campylobacter jejuni infection.|
|1997||The United States Environmental Protection Agency, based on an extensive review of the research literature, suggests that a reasonable estimate of the value of statistical life has a mean of US$4.8 million with a confidence interval of plus or minus $3.2 million (in 1990 dollars).|
|1997||"Perhaps most notable is the recent work of Williams (1997). He argues that a salient ethical basis for rejecting distributive neutrality is the fair innings argument, namely, the general sentiment that everyone is entitled to a "normal" lifetime of around 70-75 years, and that anyone failing to achieve this has in some sense been cheated, while anyone getting more than this is living on "bor�rowed time." Williams addresses the fact that there is a significant difference between social classes in the UK with respect to quality�adjusted life expectancy (QALE) at birth. Adopting a social welfare function of the kind suggested by Wagstaff (1991), Williams gives a hypothetical example of how observations of people's willingness to trade off mean QALE, for equality in QALE could be used to estimate a parameter for the strength of aversion to inequality."|
|1997||"Sherbourne et al. (1997) collected time trade-off and standard gam�ble data from 18,000 patients visiting medical centers across the United States. On average, the patients scored themselves 75 on a rating scale from 0 ("worst possible health state") to 100 ("perfect health"). However, 70 percent of the patients, including many who were very sick, were not willing to sacrifice any life expectancy to be relieved of their condition."|
|1998||Notable case||A U.S. Marine jet hits aerial tramway cables in Italy. As form of compensation, the United States gives close to US$2 million to each Italian victim.|
|1998||The World Health Organization creates a Disease Burden Unit, which generates Global Burden of Disease (GBD) estimates, and publishing them at WHO’s annual World Health Reports.|
|1999||"Nathalie et al (1999) INDIA Valuing Mortality Reductions in India, A Study of Compensating Wage Differentials Fatal and injury risk was found to have positive influence on worker’s wage. Found the ratio of VSL to foregone earnings is higher for India compared to U.S.A. Transferring VSL estimate from U.S.A to India using BTM undervalues Indian VSL. 153,000- 358,000 (1999 USD)"|
|1999||May||Notable case||After the United States Air Force kill and injure a number of people in bombing the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, the U.S. government agree to pay US$4.5 million in damages, which amount to about US$150,000 per victim.|
|2000||Literature (journal)||The European Journal of Health Economics is first issued.|
|2001||"Alberini et. al (2001) USA & Canada The Willingness To Pay for Mortality Risk Reductions: A Comparison of the United States and Canada "With increase in size of risk reduction, WTP also increases. Found little evidence of variation of WTP with respondent’s age." 930,000 - 4.8 (2000 USD)"|
|2001||"Fox-Rushby J, Hanson K: Calculating and presenting disability adjusted life years (DALYs) in cost-effectiveness analysis. Health Policy Plan 2001, 16(3):326–331. 10.1093/heapol/16.3.326"|
|2001||"Nor Ghani MD. Nor and Mohd Faudzi Mohd Yusoff (2001) MALAYSIA The value of life and accident costing: a willingness to pay study amongst young motorcyclists in Malaysia Although young riders were initially thought to have higher valuation of lives compared to senior counterparts, however, this result was not robust. l.2 (RM)"|
|2001||"In the United States itself, the next of kin of each person who died in the September 11 attacks received some $2 million, sparking an angry debate in the United States about the respective compensation to the victims of Hurricanes Rita"|
|2002||William Schabas observes that the right tolife is ‘intangible in scope, and vexingly difficult to define’.|
|2002||The United States Environmental Protection Agency decides the value of elderly people is 38 percent less than that of people under 70. After the move becomes public, the agency reverses itself.|
|2003||"W Kip Viscusi and Joseph E Aldy (2003) USA The Value of a Statistical Life: A critical review of market estimates throughout the world Reviewed 60 studies of mortality risk premium and 40 studies of injury risk premium. "Critically examined various econometric issues, role of unionization in risk premiums and effects of age on the VSL. Conducted a metaanalysis of VSL studies." 16,070,278 (2000 USD)"|
|2003||"Jin-Tan Liu James K Hammitt Jung-Der Wang Meng-Wen Tsou (2003) Taiwan Valuation of the risk of SARS in Taiwan WTP for risk reduction increased with degree of risk reduction. WTP for a vaccine that protected individuals from SARS was fairly high compared to WTP for other fatal risk reduction 3 - 12 (USD)"|
|2003||"Alberini et. al (2003) USA & Canada Does the value of a statistical life vary with age and health status? Evidence from the US and Canada. WTP did not decline much with age. WTP for 5 in 1000 1 in 1000 WTP in US 700,000 -1.54 4.8 WTP in Canada 506,000933,000 3.7"|
|2003||"Viscusi (2003) USA Racial Differences in Labor Market Values of a Statistical Life Implicit VSL and annual compensation for fatal risks was lower for black workers compared to white workers. $9.4 - $18.8 (for whites) $5.9 - $8.9 (for blacks)"|
|2003||The income elasticity of the value of statistical life is estimated at 0.5 to 0.6.|
|2004||"Joseph E Aldy and W Kip Viscusi (2004) USA Age variations in workers’ Value of a Statistical Life VSL exhibits an inverted Ushaped relationship over an individual’s life cycle. $4.23 (general OLS Estimate) (1996$) At age of 60: $2.5-$3.0"|
|2004||"Viscusi and Kniesner (2004) USA Value of a Statistical Life: Relative Position vs. Relative Age Disregarding relative position of worker in wage distribution had little impact on VSL but, disregarding planned consumption of worker underestimated VSL by about 20 percent. $4.7 – $4.8"|
|2004||"Victor Brajer, Morteza Rahmatian, (2004) Iran From Diye to Value of Statistical Life: A Case Study for the Islamic Republic of Iran The ancient cultural tradition “Diye” had significant impact on preferences of individuals and their WTP for avoiding premature death. 1) 45,000$ 2) 66,750$ 3) 100,000$ (2003 USD)"|
|2004||"Louis R Eeckhoudta and James K Hammitt (2004) USA Does risk aversion increase the value of mortality risk? Though financial risk aversion increases VSL in certain defined cases, the relationship between VSL and risk aversion is ambiguous under many reasonable assumptions."|
|2004||"Orley Ashenfelter and MichaeL Greenstone, (2004) USA “Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life US federal government law which raised the speed limit in rural interstate roads from 55 miles per hour to 65 miles per hour which was found to cause a surge in speed limit by 4% and fatalities by 35%. $1.03 – $1.64 (1997 USD)"|
|2004||Jacques Derrida argues that the right to life is ‘highly precarious,’ as its ‘concept and axiom are more than problematic’.|
|2004||"Fredrik Carlsson, Olof JohanssonStenman and Peter Martinsson (2004) Sweden “Is Transport Safety More Valuable in the Air?” Individuals thoroughly overestimate risk of flight accidents relative to accidents in other modes of transport. 50% respondents stated higher WTP for risk reduction."|
|2004||"S Madheswaran (2004) (Mumbai & Chennai) INDIA Measuring the Value of Life and Limb: Estimating Compensating Wage Differentials among Workers in Chennai and Mumbai Found that job risk decreases with worker’s wealth. Worker’s wage increases with his education level, being in union and belonging to lower caste. Fatal, nonfatal job risk and subjective risk assessment of workers had positive influence on wage, 15 (INR)"|
|2004||"The EPA made the changes in two steps. First, in 2004, the agency cut the estimated value of a life by 8 percent. Then, in a rule governing train and boat air pollution this May, the agency took away the normal adjustment for one year's inflation. Between the two changes, the value of a life fell 11 percent, based on today's dollar."|
|2005||"Chris Rohlfs (2005) USA Estimates of the Willingness toPay to Avoid Military Service and Fatality Risk: Evidence from the Vietnam Draft WTP of white men were higher than black men. 1.1-4.0 (2003 USD)"|
|2005||"Minhaj Mahmud (2005) BANGLADESH Measuring trust and the value of statistical lives: Evidence from Bangladesh Used CVM approach and found that young people underestimated risk compared to older people $1,783 to $2,922"|
|2006||The United States Public Health Service’s “Healthy People Initiative,” which measures progress toward US public health goals, uses QALYs as one of its key metrics.|
|2006||"Thomas J Kniesner, W Kip Viscusi and James P Ziliak (2006) USA Life-Cycle Consumption and the Age-Adjusted Value of Life Age pattern of consumption was found to vary. Observed that implicit VSL increased and then declined over lifetime in a manner such that the value for aged workers was higher than the average value of young. VSL without industry controls: $20.8 VSL with industry controls:$8.9"|
|2006||"Muhammad Rafiq and Mir Kalan Shah (2006) PAKISTAN How Much is a Life Worth? Examining the Risk-Wages Trade Off in Pakistan Found that higher fatality risks were associated with higher wage. However, for injury risk the results were unclear. $ 122,047 (10.4 million PKR) to $435,294 (37 million PKR)"|
|2006||Mathieu suggests that the assessment of the evolving spectrum of life scenarios from an isolation of life in its biological existence through to life as apolitical expression requires a multi-disciplinary analysis.|
|2009||The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) sets the nominal cost-per-QALY threshold at £50,000 for end-of-life care because dying patients typically benefit from any treatment for a matter of months, making the treatment's QALYs small.|
|2010||"As a recent, highly publicized, example, consider the estimated $10–$20 million spent to save 33 Chilean miners trapped by a mine cave-in in 2010.11 That is the kind of impressive outlay that persuades people that identified lives are valued more highly than statistical lives. And the true value of all the resources used in the rescue is probably substantially higher since the estimate undoubtedly excludes the value of the time of the many volunteers in the effort."|
|2010||"Abdelaziz Benkhalifa (2010) TUNISIA The value of mortality risk reductions in the Tunisian building and manufacturing industries. Found positive and significant fatal risk premium implying higher value of mortality risk in the building and manufacturing industries. 448663.32 Dinnars (Manufacturing) 689280.5 (Building)"|
|2010||"The next comprehensive GBD update, the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 (GBD 2010) published new estimates for the complete time series from 1990 to 2010 and an explanation of its methods in The Lancet in December 2012 in seven papers, commentaries, and accompanying comprehensive web appendices totaling more than 2,300 pages."|
|2010||Research||With funding from the European Commission, the European Consortium in Healthcare Outcomes and Cost-Benefit Research (ECHOUTCOME) begins a major study on QALYs as used in health technology assessment.|
|2011||"K R Shanmugam and S Madheswaran (2011) INDIA Economics of Human Resources: An Econometric Study on the Compensating Wage Differentials for Job Risks Fatal, non-fatal and subjective job risk were found to positively and significantly affect worker’s wage. Age and VSL showed an inverted-U shaped relation. Union and backward community workers had higher wage. 3.74 (million) (1990 USD)"|
|2011||The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation launches the Global Health Data Exchange, which indexes and hosts information about microdata, aggregated data, and research results with a focus on health-related and demographic datasets.|
|2012||February 10||Literature||The OECD publishes Mortality Risk Valuation in Environment, Health and Transport Policies.|
|2012||Monetary estimate||A wage-risk study estimates values of $4–$10 million per life saved (2001 dollars) for a sample of employed men with an average age of 40. Using the Consumer Price Index to adjust the value of statistical life estimates to 2007 raises the range to $4.7–$11.7 million, almost 5–12 times as large as future discounted earnings.|
|2013||A review reports that there are well over a hundred value of a statistical life studies.|
|2015||"This ‘metrification’ (Yates‐Doerr 2015) or quantification of life comes with the suggestion that there is a calculable and controllable way of achieving a goal. Taking in X calories while expending Y calories through exercise, for example, would result in weight loss if Y is larger than X."|
|2016||Research||Louis P. Garrison reports in his article that US private payers, with a few limited exceptions, rarely explicitly use costutility analyses (CUAs), the cost-effectiveness studies that rely on QALYs, in their benefits and reimbursement decisions. Garrison states that it is a “puzzle” that the United States has so many competent health economists who made so many CUAs, but that US private and public payers rarely make direct use of their material.|
|2016||August 4||Literature||Dmitry A. Kondrashov publishes Quantifying Life: A Symbiosis of Computation, Mathematics, and Biology.|
|2016||October||Research||A study attempting to estimate the social value of statistical life in the city of Nanjing in China concludes that, after using the tax system to illustrate the contribution of different income groups to social funds, the average social value of statistical life is found to be 7,184,406 RMB (US$1,130,032).|
|2019||June||Research||Keller et al., searching databases to identify methodological and empirical studies, conclude that estimates for the value of a statistical life varies substantially by context (sector, developed/developing country, socio-economic status, etc), with the median of midpoint purchasing power parity–adjusted estimates of 2019 US$5.7 million ($6.8 million, $8.7 million, and $5.3 million for health, labor market, and transportation safety sectors, respectively).|
|2019||September|| "This study provides evidence that support a constant value of a QALY and indicates that the primary cause of variation in the value of a QALY is not caused by the size of the QALY gain. The source of variation is, instead, likely to be found in budget constraints and diminishing marginal returns. The original chained approach was found to be sensitive to injury severity and duration and shown to be mostly internally consistent. The method could be a valid alternative approach for estimating the value of major health loss."
|2020||Monetary estimate||The United States Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates the value of a statistical life at US$7.5 million in the year.|
Meta information on the timeline
How the timeline was built
The initial version of the timeline was written by FIXME.
Funding information for this timeline is available.
Feedback and comments
Feedback for the timeline can be provided at the following places:
What the timeline is still missing
- Timeline of quantification of life:
- Kinds of topics:
- Value of life, including value of statistical life, its application to fatality prevention and safety standards, its use in public health measures, how it plays with crisis management and hostage negotiations
- Quality-adjusted life index and Disability-adjusted life index, how they are measured/estimated, and their use for public health
- Comparison of value of life across different humans and across animal species
- Things like the trade-off calculations in GiveWell's cost-effectiveness analyses
- Criticisms from other angles of the idea or specific approaches of quantifying life
- Any connections with population ethics, though we don't want to get too deep into population ethics
- Also look at Open Philanthropy's use of this to inform philanthropy e.g., [here](https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/technical-updates-our-global-health-and-wellbeing-cause-prioritization-framework) and [here](https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/returns-life-sciences-funding) and [here](https://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/givewells-top-charities-are-increasingly-hard-beat)
- Vipul's reasons for marking this as priority work:
- This seems like one of the central areas of interest informing effective altruism, global health, pandemic management, and risks, but has no consolidated timeline
- Kinds of topics:
- Health care rationing
- Cost–benefit analysis
- Health insurance
- Philosophy of healthcare
- Global Burden of Disease Study
- Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
- doi: 10.1016/b0-08-043076-7/02278-6 (ref name )
- Case mix index
- Health economics
- Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Registry
- Cost-utility analysis
- Quality-adjusted life year
- Disability-adjusted life year
- Value of life
- Life-years lost
- Years of potential life lost
Timeline update strategy
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- Sunstein, Cass R. (5 September 2014). Valuing Life: Humanizing the Regulatory State. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-78017-7.
- Yorke, Dr Jon (28 February 2013). The Right to Life and the Value of Life: Orientations in Law, Politics and Ethics. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-1-4094-9715-8.
- Nord, Erik (28 September 1999). Cost-Value Analysis in Health Care: Making Sense out of QALYS. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64434-1.
- Sassi, F. (28 July 2006). "Calculating QALYs, comparing QALY and DALY calculations". Health Policy and Planning. 21 (5): 402–408. doi:10.1093/heapol/czl018.
- Rebelo, LP (2007). The Origins and the Evolution of Health Economics: A Discipline by Itself?.
- Mihajlo, Jakovljevic; Seiritsu, Ogura (1999). "Health Economics at the Crossroads of Centuries – From the Past to the Future.". Frontiers in Public Health. 4: 115. PMC . PMID 27376055. doi: .
- Uncertainty and the welfare economics of medical care. 1963.
- Blomquist, G.C. (2001). "Value of Life, Economics of". International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: 16133–16139. doi:10.1016/B0-08-043076-7/02278-6.
- Arrow, Kenneth (1963). "Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care". The American Economic Review. 53 (5): 941–973. JSTOR 1812044.
- Klarman, Herbert E.; Francis, Jhon O??S.; Rosenthal, Gerald D. (January 1968). "Cost Effectiveness Analysis Applied to the Treatment of Chronic Renal Disease:". Medical Care. 6 (1): 48–54. doi:10.1097/00005650-196801000-00005.
- Russell, Louise B. (July 2014). "Do We Really Value Identified Lives More Highly Than Statistical Lives?". Medical Decision Making. 34 (5): 556–559. doi:10.1177/0272989X13512183.
- Schelling, TC . The life you save may be your own. Reprinted in Choice and Consequence: Perspectives of an Errant Economist. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press; 1984. p 113–46. Originally published in Chase, SB ., ed. Problems in Public Expenditure Analysis. Washington (DC): The Brookings Institution; 1968. p 127–61.
- Banzhaf, H. Spencer (November 2014). "Retrospectives: The Cold-War Origins of the Value of Statistical Life". Journal of Economic Perspectives. pp. 213–226. doi:10.1257/jep.28.4.213. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
- Grossman, Michael (March 1972). "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health". Journal of Political Economy. 80 (2): 223–255. doi:10.1086/259880.
- Murray, Christopher J.L.; Acharya, Arnab K. (December 1997). "Understanding DALYs". Journal of Health Economics. 16 (6): 703–730. doi:10.1016/s0167-6296(97)00004-0.
- Zeckhauser, Richard; Shepard, Donald (1976). "Where Now for Saving Lives?". Law and Contemporary Problems. 40 (4): 5–45. ISSN 0023-9186. JSTOR 1191310. doi:10.2307/1191310.
- Majumder, Agamoni (2016). Value of statistical life : a meta-analysis with mixed effects regression model. Bangalore. ISBN 978-81-7791-218-0.
- Weinstein, Milton C.; Stason, William B. (31 March 1977). "Foundations of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis for Health and Medical Practices". New England Journal of Medicine. 296 (13): 716–721. doi:10.1056/NEJM197703312961304.
- Pliskin, J. S.; Shepard, D. S.; Weinstein, M. C. (1980). "Utility Functions for Life Years and Health Status". Operations Research. 28 (1): 206–24. JSTOR 172147. doi:10.1287/opre.28.1.206.
- "Journal of Health Economics | Vol 1, Issue 3, Pages 217-309 (December 1982) | ScienceDirect.com by Elsevier". www.sciencedirect.com. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
- "Using Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life in Evaluating Regulatory Effects" (PDF). ers.usda.gov. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
- Harris, John (5 December 2006). The Value of Life: An Introduction to Medical Ethics. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-95420-9.
- Jones-Lee, MW, Hammerton, M, Philips, PR. The value of safety: results of a national sample survey. Econ J. 1985;95:49–72.
- US Environmental Protection Agency, National Center for Environmental Economics . Frequently asked questions on mortality risk valuation.
- Loomes, Graham; McKenzie, Lynda (1989). "The use of QALYs in health care decision making". Social Science & Medicine. 28 (4): 299–308. ISSN 0277-9536. PMID 2649989. doi:10.1016/0277-9536(89)90030-0.
- "GBD History". Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. 18 April 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
- "Health economics.". worldcat. 1992. Retrieved 14 May 2022.
- Larson, Bruce A. (8 August 2013). "Calculating disability-adjusted-life-years lost (DALYs) in discrete-time". Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation. p. 18. doi:10.1186/1478-7547-11-18. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
- Kellert, Stephen R.; Kellert, Stephen H. (1996). The Value of Life: Biological Diversity And Human Society. Island Press. ISBN 978-1-55963-317-8.
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- Schabas 2002
- "How to value life? EPA devalues its estimate". NBC News. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
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- Derrida and Roudinesco 2004
- "Quality-Adjusted Life Years and the Devaluation of Life with Disability: Part of the Bioethics and Disability Series" (PDF). ncd.gov. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
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- Kniesner, TJ, Viscusi, WK, Woock, C. The value of a statistical life: evidence from panel data. Rev Econ Stat. 2012;94:74–87.
- Robinson, LA, Hammitt, JK. Skills of the trade: valuing health risk reductions in benefit-cost analysis. J Benefit-Cost Anal. 2013;4:107–30.
- Pols, Jeannette; Willems, Dick; Aanestad, Margunn (October 2019). "Making sense with numbers. Unravelling ethico‐psychological subjects in practices of self‐quantification". Sociology of Health & Illness. 41 (Suppl 1): 98–115. ISSN 0141-9889. doi:10.1111/1467-9566.12894.
- Yates-Doerr, Emily (31 December 2019). "The Weight of Obesity: Hunger and Global Health in Postwar Guatemala". doi:10.1525/9780520961906.
- Kondrashov, Dmitry A. (4 August 2016). Quantifying Life: A Symbiosis of Computation, Mathematics, and Biology. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-37193-1.
- Yang, Zhao; Liu, Pan; Xu, Xin (October 2016). "Estimation of social value of statistical life using willingness-to-pay method in Nanjing, China". Accident Analysis & Prevention. 95: 308–316. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2016.04.026.
- Keller, Elena; Newman, Jade E.; Ortmann, Andreas; Jorm, Louisa R.; Chambers, Georgina M. (1 October 2021). "How Much Is a Human Life Worth? A Systematic Review". Value in Health. 24 (10): 1531–1541. ISSN 1098-3015. doi:10.1016/j.jval.2021.04.003.
- Olofsson, S.; Gerdtham, U.-G.; Hultkrantz, L.; Persson, U. (September 2019). "Value of a QALY and VSI estimated with the chained approach". The European Journal of Health Economics. 20 (7): 1063–1077. doi:10.1007/s10198-019-01077-8.
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