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The Value of a Statistical Life under Ambiguity Aversion

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  • Nicolas Treich

Abstract

We show that ambiguity aversion increases the value of a statistical life as soon as the marginal utility of wealth is higher if alive than dead. The intuition is that ambiguity aversion has a similar effect as an increase in the perceived baseline mortality risk, and thus operates as the “dead anyway” effect. We suggest, however, that ambiguity aversion should usually have a modest effect on the prevention of ambiguous mortality risks within benefit-cost analysis, and can hardly justify the substantial “ambiguity premium” apparently embodied in environmental policy-making.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2291.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2291

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Keywords: ambiguity; value-of-a-statistical-life; uncertainty; risk-aversion; willingness-to-pay; benefit-cost analysis; environmental risk; health policy;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Riddel, Mary, 2011. "Uncertainty and measurement error in welfare models for risk changes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 341-354, May.
  2. Hippolyte d'Albis & Emmanuel Thibault, 2012. "Ambiguous Life Expectancy and the Demand for Annuities," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 12050, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  3. Gollier, Christian & Hammitt, James & Treich, Nicolas, 2013. "Risk and Choice: A Research Saga," TSE Working Papers 13-444, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  4. Gollier, Christian & Alary, David, 2008. "Should more ambiguity averse agents exert more effort ?," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/6500, Paris Dauphine University.
  5. Athanassoglou, Stergios & Xepapadeas, Anastasios, 2012. "Pollution control with uncertain stock dynamics: When, and how, to be precautious," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 304-320.
  6. Scotton, Carol R. & Taylor, Laura O., 2011. "Valuing risk reductions: Incorporating risk heterogeneity into a revealed preference framework," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 381-397, May.
  7. BERGER, Loïc & BLEICHRODT, Han & EECKHOUDT, Louis, . "Treatment decisions under ambiguity," CORE Discussion Papers RP -2494, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00721281 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Courbage, Christophe & Rey, Béatrice & Treich, Nicolas, 2013. "Prevention and precaution," TSE Working Papers 13-445, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  10. Francisco Alpizar & Fredrik Carlsson & Maria Naranjo, 2010. "The Effect of Risk, Ambiguity and Coordination on Farmers’ Adaptation to Climate Change: A Framed Field Experiment," Working Papers 2010.81, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  11. Rachel Croson & Nicolas Treich, 2014. "Behavioral Environmental Economics: Promises and Challenges," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 58(3), pages 335-351, July.
  12. Aurelien Baillon & Olivier L'Haridon & Laetitia Placido, 2011. "Ambiguity Models and the Machina Paradoxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1547-60, June.
  13. Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2010. "Health Investments Under Risk And Ambiguity," Working Papers in Economics 443, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  14. Huang, Rachel J. & Huang, Yi-Chieh & Tzeng, Larry Y., 2013. "Insurance bargaining under ambiguity," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 812-820.

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