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Risk Heterogeneity and the Value of Reducing Fatal Risks: Further Market-Based Evidence

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  • Kochi Ikuho

    (Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, México)

  • Taylor Laura O

    (North Carolina State University)

Abstract

The benefits associated with mortality risk reductions are a critical input for the benefit-cost analysis of economically significant federal regulations that affect health and safety. The dominant method of estimating the benefits of reducing mortality risks relies on labor markets to estimate the tradeoffs between workers wages and occupational risk. The past literature considers all labor market risks to be equivalent, failing to recognize the inherent heterogeneity in occupational hazards. In this research, heterogeneity in the value of reducing risks is explored within the labor market context. Unique location-specific risk data are developed for over 300 U.S. cities to separately identify the wage premiums for facing two disparate occupational risks: violent assault and motor vehicle accident risks. We find that ignoring the underlying heterogeneity in risks can lead to substantial over/under-statements of the benefits of reducing any one particular risk by up to 350%. As such, caution is urged for benefits transfer exercises that apply estimates of the marginal willingness to pay for reducing labor market accident risks to policies affecting very different risks, such as public safety or environmental risks.

Suggested Citation

  • Kochi Ikuho & Taylor Laura O, 2011. "Risk Heterogeneity and the Value of Reducing Fatal Risks: Further Market-Based Evidence," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 2(3), pages 1-28, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jbcacn:v:2:y:2011:i:3:n:1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. W. Kip Viscusi, 2015. "The Role of Publication Selection Bias in Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 27-52, Winter.
    2. Scotton Carol R., 2013. "New risk rates, inter-industry differentials and the magnitude of VSL estimates," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 39-80, March.
    3. W. Viscusi & Elissa Gentry, 2015. "The value of a statistical life for transportation regulations: A test of the benefits transfer methodology," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 53-77, August.
    4. Guardado, José R. & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2013. "A Model of Worker Investment in Safety and Its Effects on Accidents and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 7428, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Gentry, Elissa Philip & Viscusi, W. Kip, 2016. "The fatality and morbidity components of the value of statistical life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 90-99.

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