Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Economic Aspects of Genocides, Other Mass Atrocities, and Their Preventions$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Charles H. Anderton and Jurgen Brauer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199378296

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199378296.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 November 2019

Valuing Lives You Might Save

Valuing Lives You Might Save

Understanding Psychic Numbing in the Face of Genocide

Chapter:
(p.613) 26 Valuing Lives You Might Save
Source:
Economic Aspects of Genocides, Other Mass Atrocities, and Their Preventions
Author(s):

Paul Slovic

Daniel Västfjäll

Robin Gregory

Kimberly G. Olson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199378296.003.0026

Why do governments fail to intervene to prevent genocide and other mass atrocities? We examine this question with reference to prospect theory, one of the foundations of behavioral economics. When people rely on their moral intuitions, they behave according to prospect theory’s value function, which implies that the importance of protecting an individual life diminishes as the number of lives at risk increases. In some cases, intuitive valuation of the collective threat may actually decrease as the number of lives at risk increases, which undoubtedly contributes to failures to respond aggressively to mass atrocities. Understanding this failing of moral intuition should help to inform the development of new institutional mechanisms concerned with atrocity prevention. Such new mechanisms are necessary to force us to pursue the hard measures needed to combat massive human rights abuses. Accordingly, we propose several policy recommendations and institutional designs to improve international decision-making in this arena.

Keywords:   valuing lives, psychic numbing, compassion fade, prominence effect, genocide prevention

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .