Re: Suicidal Externalities

If there's one thing I learned this past summer from Will Wilkinson and Glen Whitman, it's that at the very first mention of externalities, think Ronald Coase.

Even when we grant that suicide imposes psychic costs on surviving family and friends, we must remember that externalities are a two way street. The mere existence of an externality is not an argument for anything at all, and tells us nothing about the most efficient solution. Rather, we are interested in determining which party is least-cost avoider. And there is often much "Coasian bargaining" that goes on between family members and friends over a person's suicide.

A blanket law against suicide assumes that in every case of potential suicide, the person who wants to die is the least-cost avoider. It is highly unlikely that this is the most efficient policy.

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Ding ding ding, Micha wins

Ding ding ding, Micha wins the prize. Good thinking, Batman.

"It is highly unlikely that

"It is highly unlikely that this is the most efficient policy."

Suppose it were. How would you then weigh the efficient policy against the libertarian policy?

How 'bout you answer my

How 'bout you answer my questions first, k?

Done; your turn.

Done; your turn.