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Estimating the Value of a Statistical Life: The Importance of Omitted Variables and Publication Bias

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  • Orley Ashenfelter
  • Michael Greenstone

Abstract

In this paper we show that omitted variables and publication bias lead to severely biased estimates of the value of a statistical life. Although our empirical results are obtained in the context of a study of choices about road safety, we suspect that the same issues plague the estimation of monetary trade-offs regarding safety in other contexts.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/0002828041301984
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 94 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 454-460

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:94:y:2004:i:2:p:454-460

Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828041301984
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  1. Glenn C. Blomquist, 2003. "Self Protection and Averting Behavior, Values of Statistical Lives, and Benefit Cost Analysis of Environmental Policy," NCEE Working Paper Series, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 200302, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Mar 2003.
  2. Orley Ashenfelter & Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek, 1999. "A Review of Estimates of the Schooling/Earnings Relationship, with Tests for Publication Bias," Working Papers 804, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Richard Thaler & Sherwin Rosen, 1976. "The Value of Saving a Life: Evidence from the Labor Market," NBER Chapters, in: Household Production and Consumption, pages 265-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2004. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S226-S267, February.
  5. Dan A. Black & Thomas J. Kniesner, 2003. "On the Measurement of Job Risk in Hedonic Wage Models," Center for Policy Research Working Papers, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University 49, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  6. Viscusi, W Kip, 1993. "The Value of Risks to Life and Health," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1912-46, December.
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  1. Meta-Analysis in Economics

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