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Date and Location

April 11, 2024
4:15 PM - 5:45 PM ET
B-102: M-rcbg Conference Room


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​One of the key goals of many environmental, health, and safety regulations is to save lives. As a result, the value of reducing the risk of death is an important determinant of the benefits of numerous regulations, and many government agencies and other organizations have developed default estimates for application in regulatory and other benefit-cost analyses. These estimates are conventionally referred to as the value per statistical life (VSL), but the underlying concept is frequently misunderstood. VSL does not measure the value of saving an individual’s life, rather it refers to the willingness to trade-off income against a small change in risk within a defined time period. In this study group session, we will explore the conceptual framework for these values, the methods used to estimate them, and the defaults recommended for application by various government agencies.

Lisa A. Robinson, Deputy Director, Center for Health Decision Science; Senior Research Scientist, Center for Health Decision Science and Center for Risk Analysis, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Ms. Robinson is a former M-RCBG Senior Fellow whose research and teaching focus on the conduct of benefit-cost analysis. She has led numerous assessments of the costs, benefits, and other impacts of environmental, health, and safety policies and regulations, developed related methods, and drafted guidance documents. She has developed approaches for estimating the value of mortality risk reductions (the value per statistical life, VSL) for several government agencies and other organizations. These include, for example, guidelines for the analysis of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations and of global health interventions. 
Stephen Gibson is an M-RCBG Fellow and Chair of the UK Regulatory Policy Committee which reviews the evidence and analysis underpinning UK Government regulations and assesses whether they are fit for purpose.
Mr. Gibson is a former Chief Economist at Postcomm (the UK postal regulator), Ofwat (the UK water regulator) and Ofcom (the UK communications regulator). He led a number of detailed cost-benefit analyses of policies to regulate the advertising of junk food. This relied for its benefits assessment on a detailed investigation into the likely reduction in statistical lives lost due to obesity-related illnesses as a result of the policy and consideration of how to value those benefits using different VSL approaches. 
This event is open only to those with an active HUID. Registration is not necessary
M-RCBG welcomes individuals with disabilities to participate in its programs. To request accommodations or ask questions about access provided, please email:

Speakers and Presenters

​Stephen Gibson
M-RCBG Senior Fellow

Lisa A. Robinson
Deputy Director, Center for Health Decision Science, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health