Who Decides How Much a Life Is Worth?

Listen now:

After 9/11, Congress authorized unlimited funds to compensate the families of victims. It was Kenneth Feinberg’s job to distribute that money, assigning a monetary value to each of those lives. (Photo: Wally Gobetz/flickr)

Season 8, Episode 14

After every mass shooting or terrorist attack, victims and survivors receive a huge outpouring of support — including a massive pool of compensation money. How should that money be allocated? Stephen J. Dubner speaks with the man who’s done that job after many tragedies, including 9/11. The hard part, it turns out, isn’t attaching a dollar figure to each victim; the hard part is acknowledging that dollars can’t heal the pain.

To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “How to Be Happy” and “Who Decides How Much a Life Is Worth?

You can subscribe to the Freakonomics Radio podcast at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or elsewhere, or get the RSS feed.