Again, by email and on this site, someone has asked how to measure value when the purpose of a project, policy, investment, etc. is to save a human life. One poster mentioned this in a thread he called Ominus Measurement Problem under the New Measurement Challenge forum. I explained in the reply that a method called Value of a Statistical Life is one method for doing that, that the VSL is mentioned in the book, and that I’ve actually used it to compute the benefits of IT systems that were meant to manage vital issues of public health (e.g. safe drinking water, etc.). I also addressed one problem this poster said he has run into about the putting a value on certain government programs. The poster pointed out one senior official who said You tell me how much a soldier’s life is worth, then I’ll believe in this measurement #^%&. In the reply I argue how the position of the official is far from the moral highground his apparent indignation would suggest he has.
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