The Public Behavioural or Socially Implied Valuation Approach
The second type of approach which has often been suggested as a means of improving decision-making in life-saving policy areas, is that of the ‘public behavioural’ or ‘socially implied valuation’ approach. The rationale behind this methodology can be stated quite simply. Given that there appear to be fundamental methodological problems in the ‘human capital’ approach to life valuation, it becomes necessary to look elsewhere for a solution to the problem. In so far as there appears no real prospect of improving on the methodology from the point of view of building in, in a theoretically acceptable manner, the element of consumers’ preference which is missing from the accounting approach, a more pragmatic method needs to be found. One possibility is to examine the values implicit in decisions reached in the past on the allocation of resources to and the deployment of resources within life-saving areas. If a single value can be identified then it can in future be used explicitly throughout the whole of the public sector to aid decision-making in all areas concerned with lifesaving. If a range emerges, then on a first assumption that all lives are equal, then we have a case for attempting to narrow the range of implied values.
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