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This study analyzes the benefits of statewide policy intervention in reducing COVID-19 deaths and the costs of that intervention in lost jobs and lower real gross state product (RGSP). Policy interventions are measured by the Oxford stringency index which places a daily numerical value on the level of a state’s policy intervention.

Empirical evidence is provided that shows policy interventions have reduced COVID-19 deaths by 375,000 lives in 2020. On the cost side, it was found that policy intervention resulted in a loss of 7.3 million jobs and a decline of $410 billion in RGSP.

The study concludes by integrating the findings related to the benefits and costs of policy interventions to the economic cost per life saved for every state, as well as an estimate of the national average cost per life of $1.1 million. That figure is compared to an age-adjusted value of statistical life (VSL) calculated in the study of $4.4 million for COVID-19 fatalities.


This scholarship is part of the Chapman University COVID-19 Archives.


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