Saving Lives: A Review of the Record

28 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2003

See all articles by John F. Morrall

John F. Morrall

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

Date Written: July 2003


This paper presents evidence on the cost-effectiveness of 76 regulatory actions promulgated by the Federal government from 1967 to 2001 by updating similar work published by the author in 1986. The paper first responds to several critiques of the original article recently published in prominent law journals by showing that most of the specific criticism is based on misrepresentations and mistakes. Wide differences in cost-effectiveness indicate the possibility of saving lives more effectively. Regulations aimed at reducing safety and cardiovascular risks have been more cost-effective than regulations aimed at reducing cancer risks. The author suggests several potential regulations that could save lives more cost-effectively than the vast majority of regulations issued to date.

Keywords: mortality risks, value of life, cost-effectiveness, regulation

JEL Classification: J17

Suggested Citation

Morrall, John F., Saving Lives: A Review of the Record (July 2003). Available at SSRN: or

John F. Morrall (Contact Author)

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) ( email )

725 17th St., NW
Washington, DC
United States
202-395-3080 (Phone)

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