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Context and the VSL: Evidence from a Stated Preference Study in Italy and the Czech Republic

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  • Anna Alberini

    (University of Maryland and FEEM)

  • Milan Šcasný

    (Charles University Prague)

Abstract

We report on the results of a survey based on conjoint choice experiments that was specifically designed to investigate the effect of context on the Value of a Statistical Life (VSL), an important input into the calculation of the mortality benefits of environmental policies that reduce premature mortality. We define “context” broadly to include i) the cause of death (respiratory illness, cancer, road traffic accident), ii) the beneficiary of the risk reduction (adult v. child), and iii) the mode of provision of the risk reduction (public program v. private good). The survey was conducted following similar protocols in Italy and the Czech Republic. When do not distinguish for the cause of death, child and adult VSL are not significantly different from one another in Italy, and the difference is weak in the Czech sample. When we distinguish for the cause of death, we find that child and adult VSLs are different at the 1% level for respiratory illnesses and road-traffic accidents, but do not differ for cancer risks. We find evidence of a “cancer premium” and a “public program premium.” In both countries, the marginal utility of income is about 20% lower among wealthier people, which makes the VSL about 20% higher among respondents with incomes above the sample average. The discount rate implicit in people‘s choices is effectively zero. We conclude that there is heterogeneity in the VSL, and that such heterogeneity is primarily driven by risk characteristics and mode of delivery of the risk reduction, rather than by individual characteristics of the respondent (e.g., income and education). For the most part, our results do not disagree with environmental policy analyses that use the same VSL for children and adults, and that apply a cancer premium.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2010.66.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2010.66

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Keywords: VSL; Conjoint Choice Experiments; Mortality Risk Reductions; Cost-benefit Analysis; Forced Choice Questions;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Andersson, Henrik & Hole, Arne Risa & Svensson, Mikael, 2013. "Valuation of small and multiple health risks: A critical analysis of SP data applied to food and water safety," TSE Working Papers 13-465, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  2. Alberini, Anna & Ščasný, Milan, 2013. "Exploring heterogeneity in the value of a statistical life: Cause of death v. risk perceptions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 143-155.
  3. Shelby Gerking & Mark Dickie & Marcella Veronesi, 2012. "Valuation of Human Health: An Integrated Model of Willingness to Pay for Mortality and Morbidity Risk Reductions," NCEE Working Paper Series 201207, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Oct 2012.
  4. 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.
  5. Andrew Meyer, 2013. "Intertemporal Valuation of River Restoration," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 54(1), pages 41-61, January.
  6. Marija Bockarjova & Piet Rietveld & Erik T. Verhoef, 2012. "Composite Valuation of Immaterial Damage in Flooding: Value of Statistical Life, Value of Statistical Evacuation and Value of Statistical Injury," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-047/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  7. Marija Bockarjova & Piet Rietveld & Erik T. Verhoef, 2012. "Composite Valuation of Immaterial Damage in Flooding: Value of Statistical Life, Value of Statistical Evacuation and Value of Statistical Injury," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-047/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Wiktor Adamowicz & Mark Dickie & Shelby Gerking & Marcella Veronesi & David Zinner, 2013. "Household Decision-Making and Valuation of Environmental Health Risks to Parents and their Children," NCEE Working Paper Series 201306, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Dec 2013.

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