Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 243–265

Preferences for life saving programs: how the public discounts time and age

  • Maureen L. Cropper
  • Sema K. Aydede
  • Paul R. Portney

DOI: 10.1007/BF01064044

Cite this article as:
Cropper, M.L., Aydede, S.K. & Portney, P.R. J Risk Uncertainty (1994) 8: 243. doi:10.1007/BF01064044


In surveys of 3,000 households, we have found that people attach less importance to saving lives in the future than to saving lives today, and less importance to saving older persons than to saving younger persons. For the median respondent, saving six people in 25 years is equivalent to saving one person today, while for a horizon of 100 years, 45 persons must be saved for every person saved today. The age of those saved also matters; however, respondents do not weight lives saved by number of life-years remaining: For the median respondent, saving one 20-year-old is equivalent to saving seven 60-year-olds.

Key words

value of lifediscountinglife-years saved

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maureen L. Cropper
    • 1
  • Sema K. Aydede
    • 2
  • Paul R. Portney
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Maryland, Resources for the Future, and The World BankWashington, D.C.
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of MarylandCollege Park
  3. 3.Resources for the FutureWashington, D.C.