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Are Some Deaths Worse Than Others? Results from a Discrete Choice Experiment

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  • Angela Robinson

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Judith Covey

    (University of Durham)

  • Anne Spencer

    (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Graham Loomes

    (University of East Anglia)

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    Abstract

    Previous research has shown that people wish a premium to be placed on the prevention of certain types of deaths as they perceive those deaths as 'worse' than others. The research reported in this paper is an attempt to quantify such a 'bad death' premium via a discrete choice experiment (DCE). The four underlying attributes included were: the age of the victim, who was most to blame for the death, the severity of the victim's pain and suffering in the period leading up to death, and the duration of the victim's pain and suffering in the period leading up to death. In addition, a fifth attribute - number of deaths - was included in order to provide a quantitative scale against which to measure the "bad death premium". The results show that each of the 4 underlying attributes did matter to respondents in determining whether deaths were worse than others, but also uncovered marked insensitivity to variations in the number of those deaths. The implication of our findings for the use of quantitative variables in DCEs is discussed.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.qmul.ac.uk/papers/doc/wp597.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 597.

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    Date of creation: May 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp597

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    Keywords: Discrete choice experiment; Value of preventing a fatality; Relative weights; Insensitivity;

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    1. Boxall, Peter C. & Adamowicz, Wiktor L. & Swait, Joffre & Williams, Michael & Louviere, Jordan, 1996. "A comparison of stated preference methods for environmental valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 243-253, September.
    2. Ryan, Mandy & Wordsworth, Sarah, 2000. "Sensitivity of Willingness to Pay Estimates to the Level of Attributes in Discrete Choice Experiments," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 47(5), pages 504-24, November.
    3. Chilton, Susan, et al, 2002. " Public Perceptions of Risk and Preference-Based Values of Safety," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 211-32, November.
    4. Jin-Tan Liu & James K. Hammitt, 2003. "Effects of Disease Type and Latency on the Value of Mortality Risk," NBER Working Papers 10012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Martinsson, Peter, 2002. "Is Transport Safety More Valuable in the Air?," Working Papers in Economics 84, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    6. Nick Hanley & Robert Wright & Vic Adamowicz, 1998. "Using Choice Experiments to Value the Environment," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 413-428, April.
    7. Andrew J Lloyd, 2003. "Threats to the estimation of benefit: are preference elicitation methods accurate?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(5), pages 393-402.
    8. K. K. Lancaster, 2010. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1385, David K. Levine.
    9. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132.
    10. Jones-Lee, M W & Hammerton, M & Philips, P R, 1985. "The Value of Safety: Results of a National Sample Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(377), pages 49-72, March.
    11. Sunstein, Cass R, 1997. "Bad Deaths," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 259-82, May-June.
    12. Ulla Slothuus Skjoldborg & Dorte Gyrd-Hansen, 2003. "Conjoint analysis. The cost variable: an Achilles' heel?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(6), pages 479-491.
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    Cited by:
    1. Judith Covey & Angela Robinson & Michael Jones-Lee & Graham Loomes, 2010. "Responsibility, scale and the valuation of rail safety," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 85-108, February.

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