Prevention Policy in an Uncertain Environment

35 Pages Posted: 11 May 2022

Date Written: March 8, 2022


This paper investigates the case in which the benefits and the costs of prevention are subject to uncertainty. Prevention measures are taken after uncertainty has unraveled. The conventional policy prescribes that prevention measures are taken up to the point in which the realized marginal cost of prevention is equal to the realized marginal benefit (measured in terms of the Value of Statistical Lives saved). This policy imposes costly uncertainty on imperfectly insured parties. The optimal ex-ante policy mitigates this uncertainty. It deviates from the conventional policy by prescribing less prevention in those contingencies in which risk-preventers face high compliance costs and victims face a high probability of injury, and higher prevention in the opposite case. The optimal ex-ante policy supports the use of a VSL measure constant across contingencies. It dilutes the "dead-anyway" effect and it responds to the risk-preventers' level of prudence.

Keywords: Value of a Statistical Life, regulation of risk; externalities; risk aversion; cost-benefit analysis; emerging risks, regulatory risk

JEL Classification: K32, I18

Suggested Citation

Franzoni, Luigi Alberto, Prevention Policy in an Uncertain Environment (March 8, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Luigi Alberto Franzoni (Contact Author)

University of Bologna ( email )

P.zza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40124
0512098488 (Phone)
+39-051-221968 (Fax)


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics