Inefficient regulations can obviously make people poorer, but did you know they can kill? There is actually a whole literature on this. I summarize the key points in my latest IER post. An excerpt:
By analyzing consumer behavior, economists can come up with rough estimates of the implied “value of a statistical life” (VSL) that this behavior exhibits. To repeat, it’s not that someone flirts with certain death in exchange for $10 million.
Rather, it’s that a typical person might choose product X which costs $1 less than product Y, even though product X has a 4-in-ten-million chance of death compared to a 3-in-ten-million chance with product Y. In this hypothetical example, the person is willing to take on an extra 1-in-ten-million chance of dying, in order to save $1. This is the sense in which the person’s behavior implies a monetary value of a certain life (versus death) at $10 million.