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Willingness to Pay to Reduce Mortality Risks: Evidence from a Three-Country Contingent Valuation Study

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  • Anna Alberini

    (University of Maryland and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)

  • Alistair Hunt

    (University of Bath)

  • Anil Markandya

    (The World Bank, University of Bath and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)

Abstract

Valuing a change in the risk of death is a key input into the calculation of the benefits of environmental policies that save lives. Typically such risks are monetized using the Value of a Statistical Life (VSL). Because the majority of the lives saved by environmental policies are those of older persons, there has been much recent debate about whether the VSL should be lower for the elderly to reflect their fewer remaining life years. We conducted a contingent valuation survey in the UK, Italy and France designed to answer this question. The survey was administered in these three countries following a standardized protocol. Persons of age 40 and older were asked questions about their willingness to pay for a specified risk reduction. We use their responses to these questions to estimate the willingness to pay (WTP) for such a risk reduction and VSL. Our results suggest that the VSL ranges between €1.052 and €2.258 million. The VSL is not significantly lower for older persons, but is higher for persons who have been admitted to the hospital or emergency room for cardiovascular and respiratory problems. These results suggest that there is no evidence supporting that VSL should be adjusted to reflect the age of the beneficiaries of environmental policy. They are also partly inconsistent with the QALY-based practice of imputing lower values for persons with a compromised health status. We also find that income is positively and significantly associated with WTP. The income elasticities of the WTP increase gradually with income levels and are typically between 0.15 and 0.5 for current income levels in EU countries. We use the responses to the WTP questions to estimate the value of an extension in remaining life expectancy. We find that the value of a month’s extension in life expectancy increases with age and with serious cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses experienced by the respondent. The value of a loss of one year’s life expectancy is between €55,000 and €142,000.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2004.111.

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Date of creation: Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2004.111

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Keywords: Value of a statistical life; Willingness to pay; Life expectancy; Risk reduction; Contingent valuation;

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References

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  1. Krupnick, Alan, et al, 2002. " Age, Health and the Willingness to Pay for Mortality Risk Reductions: A Contingent Valuation Survey of Ontario Residents," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 161-86, March.
  2. Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov, 1996. "To Be, or Not to Be, That Is the Question: An Empirical Study of the WTP for an Increased Life Expectancy at an Advanced Age," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 163-74, September.
  3. Alberini, Anna & Cropper, Maureen & Krupnick, Alan & Simon, N.B.Nathalie B., 2004. "Does the value of a statistical life vary with age and health status? Evidence from the US and Canada," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 769-792, July.
  4. Persson, Ulf, et al, 2001. " The Value of a Statistical Life in Transport: Findings from a New Contingent Valuation Study in Sweden," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 121-34, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Andersson, Henrik & Hammitt, James & Lindberg, Gunnar & Sundström, Kristian, 2011. "Willingness to Pay and Sensitivity to Time Framing: A Theoretical Analysis and an Application on Car Safety," TSE Working Papers 11-271, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  2. Marija Bockarjova & Piet Rietveld & Erik T. Verhoef, 2012. "Scale, Scope and Cognition: Context Analysis of Multiple Stated Choice Experiments on the Values of Life and Limb," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-046/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Hoffmann, Sandra & Qin, Ping & Krupnick, Alan & Badrakh, Burmaajav & Batbaatar, Suvd & Altangerel, Enkhjargal & Sereeter, Lodoysamba, 2012. "The willingness to pay for mortality risk reductions in Mongolia," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 493-513.
  4. Andersson, Henrik, 2006. "Willingness to Pay for Car Safety: Evidence from Sweden," Working Papers 2006:7, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
  5. Andrea Leiter, 2011. "Age effects in monetary valuation of reduced mortality risks: the relevance of age-specific hazard rates," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 331-344, August.
  6. Marija Bockarjova & Piet Rietveld & Erik T. Verhoef, 2012. "Scale, Scope and Cognition: Context Analysis of Multiple Stated Choice Experiments on the Values of Life and Limb," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-046/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  7. Dorte Gyrd-Hansen, 2013. "Using the Stated Preference Technique for Eliciting Valuations: The Role of the Payment Vehicle," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 31(10), pages 853-861, October.
  8. Anna Alberini & Aline Chiabai, 2006. "Urban Environmental Health and Sensitive Populations: How Much Are the Italians Willing to Pay to Reduce Their Risks?," ERSA conference papers ersa06p293, European Regional Science Association.
  9. Mellin, Anna & Nerhagen, Lena, 2010. "HEALTH EFFECTS OF TRANSPORT EMISSIONS - A review of the state of the art of methods and data used for external costs calculations," Working Papers 2010:7, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
  10. Adriana Villamarin Garcia, 2011. "Prevenir y calcular una estimacion de los costos de la violencia homicida en Colombia," DOCUMENTOS DE CERAC 009108, CERAC -CENTRO DE RECURSOS PARA EL ANÁLISIS DE CONFLICTOS-.
  11. Stephen C. Newbold, 2011. "Valuing Health Risk Changes Using a Life-Cycle Consumption Framework," NCEE Working Paper Series 201103, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Apr 2011.
  12. Dennis Guignet & Anna Alberini, 2013. "Can Property Values Capture Changes in Environmental Health Risks? Evidence from a Stated Preference Study in Italy and the UK," Working Papers 2013.67, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  13. Andrea M. Leiter & Gerald J. Pruckner, 2005. "Dying in an Avalanche: Current risks and Valuation," Game Theory and Information 0511009, EconWPA.
  14. Menz, Tobias & Welsch, Heinz, 2010. "Population aging and environmental preferences in OECD countries: The case of air pollution," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(12), pages 2582-2589, October.

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