Some economic practices fail to fully capture the harms of violence

When economists estimate the health, social, and economic costs of violence, they often apply the common economic practice of ‘discounting’. Discounting involves reducing the estimated value of the future relative to the present, year by year, by a given percentage.

We argue that economists should more fully recognise the longer-term harms of violence in their cost-benefit analyses and re-examine the practice of discounting future health costs. Such a change could lead to a re-evaluation of the level of public funds to invest in violence prevention and support the health needs of victims.

Trafficking is used as a case study to illustrate the impact of discounting on costing violence.

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