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Individuals' Estimates of the Risks of Death: Part I--A Reassessment of the Previous Evidence

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  • Benjamin, Daniel K
  • Dougan, William R

Abstract

It is widely argued that individuals have biased perceptions of health and safety risks. A reconsideration of the best-known evidence suggests that this view is the erroneous result of a failure to consider the implications of scarce information. Our findings imply that the hypothesis that people make unbiased estimates of hazard rates fails to be rejected by the very data that were initially used to reject it. Thus, we are able to reconcile the alleged existence of widespread bias in risk perception with other findings that such bias is less apparent in the case of job-related hazards. The seeming bias in estimating population-average death rates and the lack of such bias in assessing job risks are two manifestations of the same behavior, which is the optimal acquisition of costly information. Copyright 1997 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.

Volume (Year): 15 (1997)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Pages: 115-33

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:15:y:1997:i:2:p:115-33

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100299

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Cited by:
  1. Winslott Hiselius, Lena, 2003. "The Value of Road and Railway Safety - an Overview," Working Papers 2003:13, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  2. Meglena JELEVA, 2005. "Croyances de survie et choix de contrat d’assurance décès : une étude empirique," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 2005014, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Arianne de Blaeij & Daniel van Vuuren, 2001. "Risk Perception of Traffic Participants," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 01-027/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Olivier Armantier, 2006. "Estimates of Own Lethal Risks and Anchoring Effects," CIRANO Working Papers 2006s-14, CIRANO.
  5. Meglena Jeleva, 2005. "Croyances de survie et choix de contrat d'assurance décès une étude empirique," Recherches économiques de Louvain, De Boeck Université, vol. 71(1), pages 95-116.
  6. Glenn C. Blomquist, 2004. "Self-Protection and Averting Behavior, Values of Statistical Lives, and Benefit Cost Analysis of Environmental Policy," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 89-110, 03.
  7. Frank Sloan & Lindsey Eldred & Tong Guo & Yanzhi Xu, 2013. "Are people overoptimistic about the effects of heavy drinking?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 93-127, August.
  8. Henrik Andersson & Petter Lundborg, 2007. "Perception of own death risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 67-84, February.
  9. G. Dionne & P.-C. Michaud, 2002. "Statistical Analysis of Value-of Life estimates using Hedonic Wage Method," THEMA Working Papers 2002-13, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  10. Arianne de Blaeij & Daniel van Vuuren, 2001. "Risk Perception of Traffic Participants," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 01-027/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  11. Thomas Post & Katja Hanewald, 2010. "Stochastic Mortality, Subjective Survival Expectations, and Individual Saving Behavior," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2010-040, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  12. Andersson, Henrik, 2006. "Willingness to Pay for Road Safety and Estimates of the Risk of Death: Evidence from a Swedish Contingent Valuation Study," Working Papers 2006:5, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
  13. Andersson, Henrik, 2008. "Perception of Own Death Risk: A Reassessment of Road-Traffic Mortality Risk," Working Papers 2008:11, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
  14. Andersson, Henrik & Lundborg, Petter, 2006. "Perception of Own Death Risk: An Analysis of Road-Traffic and Overall Mortality Risks," Working Papers 2006:1, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).

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