The cost of saving a statistical life: A case for influenza prevention and control

Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of Original Version



Billions of dollars have been spent on reducing the likelihood and severity of influenza pandemics originating in domesticated animals. These investments have global public-good properties and have to be shared. This chapter provides guidance for evaluating the benefits of flu-prevention expenditures and sharing their costs. Investments are valued by their implied statistical value of a life saved and are compared to a global average value that we construct. The results suggest that, if a $10 billion annual investment reduces the expected fatalities of a pandemic by 10%, then it is a reasonable or even very good investment. Our figures suggest that the United States should cover 20% and China 11% of the global public-good investment in flu risk reduction.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Health and Animal Agriculture in Developing Countries