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Policy Relevant Heterogeneity in the Value of Statistical Life: New Evidence from Panel Data Quantile Regressions

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Author Info

  • Kniesner, Thomas J.

    ()
    (Syracuse University)

  • Viscusi, W. Kip

    ()
    (Vanderbilt University)

  • Ziliak, James P.

    ()
    (University of Kentucky)

Abstract

We examine differences in the value of statistical life (VSL) across potential wage levels in panel data using quantile regressions with intercept heterogeneity. Latent heterogeneity is econometrically important and affects the estimated VSL. Our findings indicate that a reasonable average cost per expected life saved cut-off for health and safety regulations is $7 million to $8 million per life saved, but the VSL varies considerably across the labor force. Our results reconcile the previous discrepancies between hedonic VSL estimates and the values implied by theories linked to the coefficient of relative risk aversion. Because the VSL varies elastically with income, regulatory agencies should regularly update the VSL used in benefit assessments, increasing the VSL proportionally with changes in income over time.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4508.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 2010, 40 (1), 15-32
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4508

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Related research

Keywords: value of statistical life; panel data; fatality risk; quantile regression; CFOI; PSID; VSL; fixed effects;

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References

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  1. Aldy, Joseph E. & Viscusi, W. Kip, 2006. "Adjusting the Value of a Statistical Life for Age and Cohort Effects," Discussion Papers dp-06-19, Resources For the Future.
  2. 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.
  3. Graham, John D., 2008. "Saving Lives Through Administrative Law and Economics," Working paper 299, Regulation2point0.
  4. 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.
  5. Raj Chetty, 2003. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," NBER Working Papers 9988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Mary Evans & V. Smith, 2010. "Measuring how risk tradeoffs adjust with income," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 33-55, February.
  7. Thomas J. Kniesner & James P. Ziliak, 2002. "Tax Reform and Automatic Stabilization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 590-612, June.
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  9. Mellow, Wesley & Sider, Hal, 1983. "Accuracy of Response in Labor Market Surveys: Evidence and Implications," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 331-44, October.
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  11. Craig A. Olson, 1981. "An Analysis of Wage Differentials Received by Workers on Dangerous Jobs," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(2), pages 167-185.
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  16. Thomas J. Kniesner & W. Kip Viscusi & Christopher Woock & James P. Ziliak, 2010. "The Value of a Statistical Life: Evidence from Panel Data," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 122, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  17. Louis Kaplow, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life and the Coefficient of Relative Risk Aversion," NBER Working Papers 9852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  19. 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.
  20. Rachel Baker & Susan Chilton & Michael Jones-Lee & Hugh Metcalf, 2008. "Valuing lives equally: Defensible premise or unwarranted compromise?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 125-138, April.
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  23. Koenker, Roger, 2004. "Quantile regression for longitudinal data," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 74-89, October.
  24. 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.
  25. 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. Guardado, José R. & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2013. "A Model of Worker Investment in Safety and Its Effects on Accidents and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 7428, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. W. Viscusi, 2010. "The heterogeneity of the value of statistical life: Introduction and overview," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 1-13, February.
  3. Doucouliagos, Chris & Stanley, T.D. & Giles, Margaret, 2012. "Are estimates of the value of a statistical life exaggerated?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 197-206.
  4. Doucouliagos, Hristos & Stanley, T.D. & Viscusi, W. Kip, 2014. "Publication selection and the income elasticity of the value of a statistical life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 67-75.
  5. Ziebarth, Nicolas R. & Schmitt, Maike & Karlsson, Martin, 2013. "The Short-Term Population Health Effects of Weather and Pollution: Implications of Climate Change," IZA Discussion Papers 7875, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Mary Riddel & Sonja Kolstoe, 2013. "Heterogeneity in life-duration preferences: Are risky recreationists really more risk loving?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 191-213, April.
  7. Jonathan M. Lee & Laura O. Taylor, 2014. "Randomized Safety Inspections And Risk Exposure On The Job: Quasi-Experimental Estimates Of The Value Of A Statistical Life," Working Papers 14-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. Thomas J. Kniesner & Andrew Friedson, 2011. "Losers and Losers: Some Demographics of Medical Malpractice Tort Reforms," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 132, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  9. Cameron, Trudy Ann & DeShazo, J.R., 2013. "Demand for health risk reductions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 87-109.
  10. Polat, Sezgin, 2013. "Wage Compensation for Risk: The Case of Turkey," GIAM Working Papers 13-11, Galatasaray University Economic Research Center.
  11. W. Kip Viscusi, 2014. "The Role of Publication Selection Bias in Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life," NBER Working Papers 20116, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Vincenzo Carrieri & Edoardo Di Porto & Leandro Elia, 2011. "Risky jobs and wage differentials An indirect test for segregation," Working Papers 144, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
  13. 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.

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