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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

    (Princeton University and NBER)

  • Michael Greenstone

    (MIT, American Bar Foundation and NBER)

Abstract

Measures of public preferences toward risk are critical to evaluations of public policies on many safety, environmental, and health issues. In this paper we provide a method for measuring the revealed preferences for safety risks from state level public choices about speed limits. The idea is to measure the value of the time saved per incremental fatality that results from the voluntary adoption of an increased speed limit. Since adopters must have valued the time saved by greater speeds more than the fatalities created, this ratio provides a convincing and credible upper bound on the value of a statistical life (VSL).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 105.

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Date of creation: Jan 2004
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Handle: RePEc:pri:cepsud:97ashenfelter

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2002. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," NBER Working Papers 9094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  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, 1999. "A Review of Estimates of the Schooling/Earnings Relationship, with Tests for Publication Bias," Working Papers 804, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. repec:reg:wpaper:86 is not listed on IDEAS
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  1. Meta-Analysis in Economics

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