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Measuring the Value of a Statistical Life: Problems and Prospects

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  • Orley Ashenfelter

Abstract

Tradeoffs between monetary wealth and fatal safety risks are summarized in the value of a statistical life (VSL), a measure that is widely used for the evaluation of public policies in medicine, the environment, and transportation safety. This paper demonstrates the widespread use of this concept and summarizes the major issues, both theoretical and empirical, that must be confronted in order to provide a credible estimate of a VSL. The paper concludes with an application of these issues to a particular study of speed limits and highway safety.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11916.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
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Publication status: published as Ashenfelter, Orley. "Measuring The Value Of A Statistical Life: Problems And Prospects," Economic Journal, 2006, v116(510,Mar), C10-C23.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11916

Note: LS LE PE EEE
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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Milton C. Weinstein, 2005. "Spending Health Care Dollars Wisely: Can Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Help? 16th Annual Herbert Lourie Memorial Lecture on Health Policy," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 30, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  3. 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).
  4. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  5. Dan A. Black & Thomas K. Kniesner, 2003. "On the Measurement of Job Risk in Hedonic Wage Models," NCEE Working Paper Series 200306, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Aug 2003.
  6. Hersch, Joni, 1998. "Compensating Differentials for Gender-Specific Job Injury Risks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 598-627, June.
  7. 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.
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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. 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.
  3. Thomas J. Kniesner & W. Kip Viscusi & Christopher Woock & James P. Ziliak, 2006. "Pinning Down the Value of Statistical Life," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 85, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  4. Albalate, Daniel & Bel, Germà, 2012. "Speed limit laws in America: The role of geography, mobility and ideology," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 337-347.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Jan Rouwendal & Arianne de Blaeij & Piet Rietveld & Erik Verhoef, 2008. "The Information Content of a Stated Choice Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-053/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Gianmarco León & Edward Miguel, 2013. "Transportation Choices and the Value of Statistical Life," NBER Working Papers 19494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Kuhn, Michael & Wrzaczek, Stefan & Oeppen, Jim, 2010. "Recognizing progeny in the value of life," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 17-21, April.
  10. Rohlfs, Chris & Sullivan, Ryan & Kniesner, Thomas J., 2012. "New Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life Using Air Bag Regulations as a Quasi-Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6994, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Rouwendal, Jan & de Blaeij, Arianne & Rietveld, Piet & Verhoef, Erik, 2010. "The information content of a stated choice experiment: A new method and its application to the value of a statistical life," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 136-151, January.
  12. repec:dgr:uvatin:2008053 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Hensher, David A. & Rose, John M. & Ortúzar, Juan de Dios & Rizzi, Luis I., 2009. "Estimating the willingness to pay and value of risk reduction for car occupants in the road environment," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 692-707, August.
  14. Anna Alberini & Stefania Tonin & Margherita Turvani & Aline Chiabai, 2006. "Paying for Permanence: Public Preferences for Contaminated Site Cleanup," Working Papers 2006.113, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  15. Julia Fimpel & Michael Stolpe, 2006. "The Welfare Costs of HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe: An Empirical Assessment Using the Economic Value-of-Life Approach," Kiel Working Papers 1297, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  16. Andreas Kuhn & Oliver Ruf, 2009. "The Value of a Statistical Injury: New Evidence from the Swiss Labor Market," NRN working papers 2009-15, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  17. 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.
  18. Aloys Prinz & Björn Bünger, . "Living in a material world: Happy Income and Happy Life Years," Working Papers 200116, Institute of Spatial and Housing Economics, Munster Universitary.

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