Estimating the Value of Statistical Life (VSL) Losses from COVID-19 Infections in the United States

21 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2020 Last revised: 26 Jan 2021

See all articles by Linus Wilson

Linus Wilson

University of Louisiana at Lafayette - College of Business Administration

Date Written: January 25, 2021

Abstract

Over 90 percent of the U.S. population was under stay at home orders by April 2020. These social distancing measures to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 or novel coronavirus have led to over 20 million new applications for unemployment benefits. Are these economic losses justified? We find the value of statistical lives lost (VSL) from an unconstrained spread of the virus which hypothetically infected 81 percent of the population would amount to $8 to $60 trillion.

Keywords: mortality, death rates, CFR, COVID-19, IFR, SARS-CoV-2, school closures, social distancing, stay at home orders, VSL

JEL Classification: G22, I1, I18, J31, J65, K32

Suggested Citation

Wilson, Linus, Estimating the Value of Statistical Life (VSL) Losses from COVID-19 Infections in the United States (January 25, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3580414 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3580414

Linus Wilson (Contact Author)

University of Louisiana at Lafayette - College of Business Administration ( email )

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