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Are Some Lives More Valuable?

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Author Info

  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

  • Martinsson, Peter

    ()
    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

A theoretical model of the ethical preferences of individuals is tested by conducting a choice experiment on safety-enhancing road investments. The relative value of a saved life is found to decrease with age, such that the present value of a saved year of life is almost independent of age at a pure rate of time preference of a few percent, and a saved car driver is valued 17-31% lower than a pedestrian of the same age. Moreover, individuals’ ethical preferences seem to be fairly homogenous.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 96.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 28 Mar 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Health Economics, 2008, pages 739-752.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0096

Note: Published in Journal of Health Economics, 2208, Vol. 27, pp. 739-752.
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/
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Keywords: Ethics; social preferences; individual social welfare function; relative value of life; random ethical model;

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  1. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
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  4. Paul Anand & Allan Wailoo, 2000. "Utilities vs. Rights to Publicly Provided Goods: Arguments and Evidence from Health-Care Rationing," Open Discussion Papers in Economics 14, The Open University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
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  7. Sen, Amartya K, 1979. "Personal Utilities and Public Judgements: Or What's Wrong with Welfare Economics?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(355), pages 537-58, September.
  8. J. Solnick, Sara & Hemenway, David, 1998. "Is more always better?: A survey on positional concerns," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 373-383, November.
  9. Kahneman, Daniel & Ritov, Ilana & Schkade, David A, 1999. "Economic Preferences or Attitude Expressions?: An Analysis of Dollar Responses to Public Issues," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 203-35, December.
  10. Subramanian, Uma & Cropper, Maureen, 2000. " Public Choices between Life Saving Programs: The Tradeoff between Qualitative Factors and Lives Saved," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 117-49, July.
  11. Olof Johansson-Stenman & Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala, 2002. "Measuring Future Grandparents" Preferences for Equality and Relative Standing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 362-383, April.
  12. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  13. Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov, 1997. "Is the valuation of a QALY gained independent of age? Some empirical evidence," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 589-599, October.
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