Injury as externality: An economic perspective of trauma

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

Economists emphasize the costs in dollars or other desirable outcomes of additional safety in contrast to safety experts who remind people to design safe products and operate them safely. Society loses emotionally and financially from traumatic injury. The emotional loss must be balanced against allowing individuals free choice and encouraging them to develop judgment. Individuals are viewed as making their own best safety decisions, although they must have good information and face the correct indentives. Currently, society subsidizes risk taking in many ways, thereby discouraging safety. Health and life insurance ought to be required along with liability insurance, to correct the incentives to drivers. In addition, regulation is required to deal with physical externalities.




Published In

Accident Analysis & Prevention , 19, 1, 29-37.