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Roy Model Sorting and Non-Random Selection in the Valuation of a Statistical Life

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  • Thomas DeLeire
  • Christopher Timmins

Abstract

Wage-hedonics is used to recover the value of a statistical life by exploiting the fact that workers choosing riskier occupations will be compensated with a higher wage. However, Roy (1951) suggests that observed wage distributions will be distorted if individuals select into jobs according to idiosyncratic returns. We illustrate how this type of sorting may bias wage-hedonic VSL estimates and describe two estimators that correct for it. Using data from the CPS, we recover VSL estimates that are three to four times larger than those based on the traditional techniques, statistically significant, and robust to a wide array of specifications.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14364.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Publication status: published as Thomas DeLeire & Shakeeb Khan & Christopher Timmins, 2013. "Roy Model Sorting And Nonrandom Selection In The Valuation Of A Statistical Life," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54(1), pages 279-306, 02.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14364

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Cited by:
  1. Shanjun Li, 2012. "Traffic safety and vehicle choice: quantifying the effects of the ‘arms race’ on American roads," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(1), pages 34-62, 01.
  2. Joshua Graff Zivin & Matthew Neidell, 2013. "Environment, Health, and Human Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 689-730, September.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).

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