The price of a life, an empty calculation


There is no written document, just a calculation of the corner of the table, which “the World” brought back. A calculation that the economist Patrick Artus – who nevertheless publishes four notes per day on the site of economic studies of the bank Natixis – has no desire to formalize. He finds it indecent, almost taboo. What are we talking about ? From the “price of a life”, which can be deduced by making a simple division: the loss of GDP caused by the shutdown of the economy to escape the Covid, divided by the number of lives saved.

In the spring, the two months of confinement lowered annual production (GDP) by 10%. One month of strict confinement therefore represents a loss of 5 points of GDP. One point of GDP is 24 billion euros, 5 points is therefore 120 billion. If this first confinement saved 20,000 lives per month, as the epidemiological data retained by the economist suggest, then the cost of a life would be 6 million euros.

This result is also that found by economist and MoDem deputy Jean-Noël Barrot (HEC, MIT). With two researchers from Bocconi University in Milan, he wanted to document c

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