According to researchers at Columbia University, implementation of shelter-in-place/social distance measures one week earlier would’ve saved 36,000 lives. Given the GDP that was generated in that one week, this implies Trump’s implicit valuation of one life is $1.16 million (compared to typical Value of Statistical Life of about $11 million).
Here are the calculations:
2019Q4 GDP was 417.9 billion/week (= $21729 billion SAAR/52 weeks)
If GDP in shutdown is 10% reduced (which is implied by estimates of 2020Q2 reduction of about 40% relative to 2019Q4), that means a $41.8 billion loss.
Pei, Shandula and Kaman (2020) estimate 36,000 lives could’ve been saved by implementing lockdown measures one week earlier.
Dividing $41.8 billion by 36,000 lives yields an implicit valuation of $1.16 milion/life.
This compares against 10.1 million 2015$ in median Value of Statistical Life (VSL) reported by Kniesner and Viscusi (2019) in their Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Economics and Finance entry. Adjusting to current dollars yields a VSL of about $11 million.
In other words, Trump’s implied valuation of a typical life sacrificed by not implementing non-pharmaceutical interventions is approximately one-tenth of the value used in some standard benefit-cost calculations.