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The Value of a Statistical Life: a Meta-Analysis with a Mixed Effects Regression Model

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  • François Bellavance
  • Georges Dionne
  • Martin Lebeau

Abstract

The value of a statistical life (VSL) is a very controversial topic, but one which is essential to the optimization of governmental decisions. Indeed, our society faces any number of risks (health, transportation, work, etc.) and, as resources are limited, their complete elimination is impossible. The role of governments is to act as effectively as possible in reducing these risks. To do so, one must first determine the value that society is willing to pay in order to save a human life. However, we see a great variability in the values obtained from different studies. The source of this variability needs to be understood, in order to offer public decision-makers better guidance in choosing a value and to set clearer guidelines for future research on the topic. This article presents a meta-analysis based on 40 observations obtained from 37 studies (from nine different countries) which all use a hedonic wage method to calculate the VSL. Our meta-analysis is innovative in that it is the first to use the mixed effects regression model (Raudenbush, 1994) to analyze studies on the value of a statistical life. The outcome of our meta-analysis allows us to conclude that the variability found in the results studied stems in large part from differences in methodologies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0646.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0646

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Keywords: Value of a statistical life; meta-analysis; mixed effects regression model; hedonic wage method; risk;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Hristos Doucouliagos, 2011. "How Large is Large? Preliminary and relative guidelines for interpreting partial correlations in economics," Economics Series 2011_5, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  4. Abdelaziz Benkhalifa & Mohamed Ayadi & Paul Lanoie, 2012. "Estimated hedonic wage function and value of life in an African country," Cahiers de recherche 12-01, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
  5. Wheeler, William & Dockins, Chris, 2013. "Meta-Analysis and Publication Bias in the Hedonic Wage Literature," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150725, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  6. Abdelaziz Benkhalifa & Paul Lanoie & Mohamed Ayadi, 2013. "Estimated hedonic wage function and value of life in an African country," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(4), pages 3023-3031.
  7. Cropper, Maureen & Hammitt, James & Robinson, Lisa, 2011. "Valuing Mortality Risk Reductions:Progress and Challenges," LERNA Working Papers 11.11.345, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
  8. Marija Bockarjova & Piet Rietveld & Erik T. Verhoef, 2012. "Scale, Scope and Cognition: Context Analysis of Multiple Stated Choice Experiments on the Values of Life and Limb," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-046/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. Weitzman, Martin L., 2007. "Structural Uncertainty and the Value of Statistical Life in the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," Working paper 545, Regulation2point0.
  10. T.D. Stanley & Hristos Doucouliagos, 2011. "Meta-Regression Approximations to Reduce Publication Selection Bias," Economics Series 2011_4, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  11. Jon Nelson & Peter Kennedy, 2009. "The Use (and Abuse) of Meta-Analysis in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: An Assessment," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 42(3), pages 345-377, March.
  12. Hristos Doucouliagos & T.D. Stanley & Margaret Giles, 2011. "Are Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life Exaggerated?," Economics Series 2011_2, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  13. Martin L. Weitzman, 2009. "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-19, February.
  14. Jaldell, Henrik & Lebnak, P & Anurak, A & Krongkan, B & Khanisthar, P, 2013. "Time is money, but how much? The monetary value of response time for Thai ambulance emergency services," Karlstad University Working Papers in Economics 8, Department of Economics, Karlstad University.
  15. Olaf J. de Groot & Matthew D. Rablen & Anja Shortland, 2012. "Barrgh-gaining with Somali Pirates," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 74, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  16. 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.

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