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Pinning Down the Value of Statistical Life

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Author Info

  • Kniesner, Thomas J.

    ()
    (Syracuse University)

  • Viscusi, W. Kip

    ()
    (Vanderbilt University)

  • Woock, Christopher

    ()
    (The Conference Board)

  • Ziliak, James P.

    ()
    (University of Kentucky)

Abstract

Our research addresses fundamental long-standing concerns in the compensating wage differentials literature and its public policy implications: the econometric properties of estimates of the value of statistical life (VSL) and the wide range of such estimates from about $0.5 million to about $21 million. We address most of the prominent econometric issues by applying panel data, a new and more accurate fatality risk measure, and systematic selection of panel estimator in our research. Controlling for measurement error, endogeneity, individual heterogeneity, and state dependence yields both a reasonable average level and narrow range for the estimated value of a statistical life of about $5.5–$7.5 million.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3107.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 2012, 94 (1) , 74-87
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3107

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Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
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Web page: http://www.iza.org

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Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
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Keywords: random effects; fixed effects; panel data; VSL; PSID;

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References

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  1. Jason F. Shogren & Tommy Stamland, 2002. "Skill and the Value of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1168-1197, October.
  2. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ashenfelter, Orley, 2005. "Measuring the Value of a Statistical Life: Problems and Prospects," Working paper 107, Regulation2point0.
  4. Hwang, Hae-shin & Reed, W Robert & Hubbard, Carlton, 1992. "Compensating Wage Differentials and Unobserved Productivity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 835-58, August.
  5. Kevin Lang & Sumon Majumdar, 2004. "The Pricing Of Job Characteristics When Markets Do Not Clear: Theory And Policy Implications," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1111-1128, November.
  6. Michael P. Keane, 1991. "Individual heterogeneity and interindustry wage differentials," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 54, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Ashenfelter, Orley & Greenstone, Michael, 2003. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," Working paper 86, Regulation2point0.
  8. Ekeland, Ivar & Heckman, James J. & Nesheim, Lars, 2003. "Identification and Estimation of Hedonic Models," IZA Discussion Papers 853, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Kosec, Katrina & Wallsten, Scott, 2005. "The Economic Costs of the War in Iraq," Working paper 42, Regulation2point0.
  10. Dan A. Black & Thomas J. Kniesner, 2003. "On the Measurement of Job Risk in Hedonic Wage Models," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 49, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  11. Hannes Spengler & Sandra Schaffner, 2007. "Using Job Changes to Evaluate the Bias of the Value of a Statistical Life," Ruhr Economic Papers 0014, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  12. W. Kip Viscusi, 2004. "The Value of Life: Estimates with Risks by Occupation and Industry," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(1), pages 29-48, January.
  13. Gary Solon, 1986. "Bias in Longitudinal Estimation of Wage Gaps," NBER Technical Working Papers 0058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
  15. Kniesner Thomas J & Viscusi W. Kip & Ziliak James P, 2006. "Life-Cycle Consumption and the Age-Adjusted Value of Life," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-36, January.
  16. Ashenfelter, Orley & Greenstone, Michael, 2004. "Estimating the Value of a Statistical Life: The Importance of Omitted Variables and Publication Bias," Working paper 257, Regulation2point0.
  17. Ziliak, J.P. & Kniesner, T.J., 1996. "The Importance of Sample Attrition in Life Cycle Labor Supply," Discussion Paper 1996-46, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  18. W. Kip Viscusi & Joni Hersch, 2001. "Cigarette Smokers As Job Risk Takers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 269-280, May.
  19. Viscusi, W Kip & Aldy, Joseph E, 2003. " The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 5-76, August.
  20. Brown, Charles, 1980. "Equalizing Differences in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 113-34, February.
  21. Lillard, Lee A & Weiss, Yoram, 1979. "Components of Variation in Panel Earnings Data: American Scientists, 1960-70," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 437-54, March.
  22. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  23. Arellano, Manuel, 1989. "A note on the Anderson-Hsiao estimator for panel data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 337-341, December.
  24. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Kosec, Katrina & Wallsten, Scott, 2005. "The Economic Costs of the War in Iraq," Working paper 334, Regulation2point0.
  26. James P. Ziliak & Thomas J. Kniesner, 1998. "The Importance of Sample Attrition in Life Cycle Labor Supply Estimation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 507-530.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. François Bellavance & Georges Dionne & Martin Lebeau, 2006. "The Value of a Statistical Life: a Meta-Analysis with a Mixed Effects Regression Model," Cahiers de recherche 0646, CIRPEE.
  2. Martinez Perez, Jorge Eduardo & Mendez Martinez, Ildefonso, 2008. "¿Qué podemos saber sobre el Valor Estadístico de la Vida en España utilizando datos laborales?," MPRA Paper 11165, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Dionne, Georges & Lebeau, Martin, 2010. "Le calcul de la valeur statistique d’une vie humaine," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 86(4), pages 487-530, décembre.
  4. Goucher, Jeremy & Horrace, William C., 2012. "The value of life: Real risks and safety-related productivity in the Himalaya," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 27-32.
  5. Wehn-Jyuan Tsai & Jin-Tan Liu & James Hammitt, 2011. "Aggregation Biases in Estimates of the Value per Statistical Life: Evidence from Longitudinal Matched Worker-Firm Data in Taiwan," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(3), pages 425-443, July.
  6. Hammitt, James & Roman, Henry & Stieb, David & Walsh, Tyra, 2012. "Expert Elicitation of the Value per Statistical Life in an Air Pollution Context," TSE Working Papers 12-290, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  7. Hannes Spengler & Sandra Schaffner, 2007. "Using Job Changes to Evaluate the Bias of the Value of a Statistical Life," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 713, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  8. Thomas DeLeire & Christopher Timmins, 2008. "Roy Model Sorting and Non-Random Selection in the Valuation of a Statistical Life," NBER Working Papers 14364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Scotton, Carol R. & Taylor, Laura O., 2011. "Valuing risk reductions: Incorporating risk heterogeneity into a revealed preference framework," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 381-397, May.
  10. Naoi, Michio & Seko, Miki & Sumita, Kazuto, 2009. "Earthquake risk and housing prices in Japan: Evidence before and after massive earthquakes," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 658-669, November.
  11. Schaffner, Sandra & Spengler, Hannes, 2010. "Using job changes to evaluate the bias of value of a statistical life estimates," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 15-27, January.

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