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

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  • Orley Ashenfelter
  • Michael Greenstone

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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10401.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10401.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
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Publication status: published as Ashenfelter, Orley and Michael Greenstone. "Estimating The Value Of A Statistical Life: The Importance Of Omitted Variables And Publication Bias," American Economic Review, 2004, v94(2,May), 454-460.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10401

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  1. Ashenfelter, Orley & Greenstone, Michael, 2002. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," IZA Discussion Papers 571, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Orley Ashenfelter & Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2000. "A Review of Estimates of the Schooling/Earnings Relationship, with Tests for Publication Bias," NBER Working Papers 7457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  1. Meta-Analysis in Economics

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