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Estimating the Value of a Statistical Life: The Importance of Omitted Variables and Publication Bias

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  • Ashenfelter, Orley

    ()
    (Princeton University)

  • Greenstone, Michael

    ()
    (MIT)

Abstract

In this paper we show that omitted variables and publication bias lead to severely biased estimates of the value of a statistical life. Although our empirical results are obtained in the context of a study of choices about road safety, we suspect that the same issues plague the estimation of monetary trade-offs regarding safety in other contexts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1037.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Review, 2004, 94 (2), 454-460
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1037

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Related research

Keywords: omitted variables bias; publication bias; value of a statistical life; speed limits; traffic safety;

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References

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  1. Black, Dan A & Kniesner, Thomas J, 2003. " On the Measurement of Job Risk in Hedonic Wage Models," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 205-20, December.
  2. Viscusi, W Kip, 1993. "The Value of Risks to Life and Health," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1912-46, December.
  3. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2002. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," NBER Working Papers 9094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Glenn C. Blomquist, 2004. "Self-Protection and Averting Behavior, Values of Statistical Lives, and Benefit Cost Analysis of Environmental Policy," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 89-110, 03.
  5. Ashenfelter, Orley & Harmon, Colm & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 1999. "A review of estimates of the schooling/earnings relationship, with tests for publication bias," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 453-470, November.
  6. Richard Thaler & Sherwin Rosen, 1976. "The Value of Saving a Life: Evidence from the Labor Market," NBER Chapters, in: Household Production and Consumption, pages 265-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  1. Meta-Analysis in Economics

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