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Measuring how risk tradeoffs adjust with income

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  • Mary Evans

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  • V. Smith

Abstract

Efforts to reconcile inconsistencies between theory and estimates of the income elasticity of the value of a statistical life (IEVSL) overlook important restrictions implied by a more complete description of the individual choice problem. We develop a more general model of the IEVSL that reconciles some of the observed discrepancies. Our framework describes how exogenous income shocks, such as unexpected medical expenditures, may affect labor supply decisions which in turn influence both the coefficient of relative risk aversion and the IEVSL. The presence of a consumption commitment, such as a home mortgage, also alters this labor supply adjustment. We use data from the Health and Retirement Study to explore the responsiveness of labor force exit decisions to spousal health shocks and the role of a home mortgage as a constraint on this response.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 40 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 33-55

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:40:y:2010:i:1:p:33-55

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

Related research

Keywords: Value of a statistical life; Risk aversion; Consumption commitment; Labor supply; Q51; D01; J26;

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References

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  1. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2004. "Changes in the Value of Life, 1940--1980," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 159-180, 09.
  2. Smith, V. Kerry & Pattanayak, Subhrendu K. & Van Houtven, George L., 2003. "VSL reconsidered: what do labor supply estimates reveal about risk preferences?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 147-153, August.
  3. Courtney C. Coile, 2004. "Health Shocks and Couples' Labor Supply Decisions," NBER Working Papers 10810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Hammitt, James K & Graham, John D, 1999. "Willingness to Pay for Health Protection: Inadequate Sensitivity to Probability?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 33-62, April.
  5. Bowland, Brad J. & Beghin, John C., 2001. "Robust Estimates of Value of a Statistical Life for Developing Economies," Staff General Research Papers 5196, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  6. Mary Evans & V. Kerry Smith, 2008. "Complementarity and the Measurement of Individual Risk Tradeoffs: Accounting for Quantity and Quality of Life Effects," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 41(3), pages 381-400, November.
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  8. Martin L. Weitzman, 2009. "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-19, February.
  9. Louis Kaplow, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life and the Coefficient of Relative Risk Aversion," NBER Working Papers 9852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Eeckhoudt, Louis R. & Hammitt, James K., 2004. "Does risk aversion increase the value of mortality risk?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 13-29, January.
  11. W. Kip Viscusi & Joseph E. Aldy, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," NBER Working Papers 9487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Janusz R. Mrozek & Laura O. Taylor, 2002. "What determines the value of life? a meta-analysis," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(2), pages 253-270.
  13. Raj Chetty, 2006. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1821-1834, December.
  14. V. Kerry Smith & Mary F. Evans & Hyun Kim & Donald H. Taylor, 2004. "Do the Near-Elderly Value Mortality Risks Differently?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 423-429, February.
  15. Anupam Jena & Casey Mulligan & Tomas J. Philipson & Eric Sun, 2008. "The Value of Life in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 14157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  17. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  18. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
  19. Dickie, M. & Gerking, S.D., 2007. "Altruism and environmental risks to health of parents and their children," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-4628498, Tilburg University.
  20. Lisa Anderson & Jennifer Mellor, 2009. "Are risk preferences stable? Comparing an experimental measure with a validated survey-based measure," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 137-160, October.
  21. Eeckhoudt, Louis R & Hammitt, James K, 2001. " Background Risks and the Value of a Statistical Life," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 261-79, November.
  22. Carson, Richard T. & Hanemann, W. Michael, 2006. "Contingent Valuation," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 17, pages 821-936 Elsevier.
  23. Raj Chetty & Adam Szeidl, 2007. "Consumption Commitments and Risk Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 831-877, 05.
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  25. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Thomas J. Kniesner & W. Kip Viscusi & James P. Ziliak, 2009. "Policy Relevant Heterogeneity in the Value of Statistical Life: New Evidence from Panel Data Quantile Regressions," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 118, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  2. W. Viscusi, 2010. "The heterogeneity of the value of statistical life: Introduction and overview," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 1-13, February.
  3. Vincenzo Carrieri & Edoardo Di Porto & Leandro Elia, 2011. "Risky jobs and wage differentials An indirect test for segregation," Working Papers 144, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
  4. Cameron, Trudy Ann & DeShazo, J.R., 2013. "Demand for health risk reductions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 87-109.
  5. Doucouliagos, Hristos & Stanley, T.D. & Viscusi, W. Kip, 2014. "Publication selection and the income elasticity of the value of a statistical life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 67-75.

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