Respecting equality in economic option appraisal: valuing the time of your life

Economics and Philosophy 38 (3):416-449 (2022)
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Even where willingness-to-pay as a measure of welfare impact is adjusted for diminishing marginal utility, welfare economics is shown to favour policies that add to the life expectancy or that enhance the quality of life of persons who are already better-off. I propose an alternative, Equal Respect methodology, under an axiomatic claim that at the point of decision the prospective life years of all individuals are of equal intrinsic social value. This justifies equal valuation of risk mitigation across all persons; similarly, all appraised impacts should be scaled to accord equal respect to difficult but no-less-valuable lives.

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Donald Edwin Franklin
University College London


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