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The Value of Statistical Life in Road Safety: A Meta-Analysis


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  • Arianne de Blaeij


  • Raymond J.G.M. Florax
  • Piet Rietveld


  • Erik T. Verhoef

    (Vrije Universiteit)


Accident costs are an important component of the external costs of traffic, a substantial part of whichis related to fatal accidents. The evaluation of fatal accident costs crucially depends on theavailability of an estimate for the economic value of a statistical life. The aim of the currentpaper is to present an overview of such estimates contained in the empirical literature on theeconomic valuation of statistical life in road safety. The technique of meta-analysis is used todetermine which variables are most appropriate to explain the variance of the value of statisticallife (VOSL) estimates that have been reported in the literature. The analysis shows, among otherthings, that the magnitude of estimates of the VOSL depends on the research method, as there is asignificant difference between stated and revealed preference studies. It also shows that VOSLestimates cannot simply be averaged over studies, as the magnitude of a VOSL estimate is directlyrelated to the initial level of risk to be caught up in a fatal traffic accident as well as the riskdecline implied by the research set-up.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 00-089/3.

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Date of creation: 16 Nov 2000
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20000089

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Keywords: transport safety; value of statistical life; meta-analysis;

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  10. Ghosh, Debapriya & Lees, Dennis & Seal, William, 1975. "Optimal Motorway Speed and Some Valuations of Time and Life," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, University of Manchester, vol. 43(2), pages 134-43, June.
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  12. Lanoie, Paul & Pedro, Carmen & Latour, Robert, 1995. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Comparison of Two Approaches," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 235-57, May.
  13. Jondrow, James & Bowes, Marianne & Levy, Robert, 1983. "The Optimal Speed Limit," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(3), pages 325-36, July.
  14. Kip Viscusi, W. & Magat, Wesley A. & Huber, Joel, 1991. "Pricing environmental health risks: survey assessments of risk-risk and risk-dollar trade-offs for chronic bronchitis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 32-51, July.
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