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Discounting Statistical Lives

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  • Horowitz, John K
  • Carson, Richard T

Abstract

Benefit-cost analysis of government projects that reduce health risks over an extended period of time requires an estimate of the value of a future life. This in turn requires a discount rate. We suggest and carry out a method to estimate the discount rate using observations on discrete choices between projects with different time horizons. This method is implemented in a survey context. For our primary example, the estimated median discount rate is close to the market rate. A substantial proportion of the sample is estimated to have quite low discount rates. We provide some evidence that discount rates may differ for different types of risks. Copyright 1990 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 3 (1990)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 403-13

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:3:y:1990:i:4:p:403-13

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

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Cited by:
  1. Andrew Meyer, 2013. "Estimating discount factors for public and private goods and testing competing discounting hypotheses," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 133-173, April.
  2. Anna Alberini & Maureen Cropper & Alan Krupnick & Nathalie B. Simon, 2004. "Willingness to Pay for Mortality Risk Reductions: Does Latency Matter?," NCEE Working Paper Series 200401, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Feb 2004.
  3. James Hammitt & Jin-Tan Liu, 2004. "Effects of Disease Type and Latency on the Value of Mortality Risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 73-95, January.
  4. W. Kip Viscusi & Joel Huber, 2006. "Hyperbolic Discounting of Public Goods," NBER Working Papers 11935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Francis Asenso-Boadi & Tim J. Peters & Joanna Coast, 2008. "Exploring differences in empirical time preference rates for health: an application of meta-regression," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 235-248.
  6. Anna Alberini & Stefania Tonin & Margherita Turvani & Aline Chiabai, 2006. "Paying for Permanence: Public Preferences for Contaminated Site Cleanup," Working Papers 2006.113, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  7. Carson, Richard T & Mitchell, Robert Cameron, 2000. "Public Preferences Towards Environmental Risks: The Case of Trihalomethanes," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt12t5g549, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  8. Anna Alberini & Milan Ščasný, 2011. "Context and the VSL: Evidence from a Stated Preference Study in Italy and the Czech Republic," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(4), pages 511-538, August.
  9. Bond, Craig A. & Cullen, Kelly Giraud & Larson, Douglas M., 2009. "Joint estimation of discount rates and willingness to pay for public goods," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(11), pages 2751-2759, September.
  10. W. Viscusi & Joel Huber & Jason Bell, 2008. "Estimating discount rates for environmental quality from utility-based choice experiments," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 199-220, December.
  11. S. Höjgård & U. Enemark & C. H. Lyttkens & A. Lindgren & T. Tro�ng & H. Weibull, 2002. "Discounting and clinical decision making: Physicians, patients, the general public, and the management of asymptomatic abdominal aortic aneurysms," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 355-370.

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