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The Economic Cost of Conscription and an Upper Bound on the Value of a Statistical Life: Hedonic Estimates from Two Margins of Response to the Vietnam Draft

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  • Rohlfs Chris

    (Syracuse University)

Abstract

This study estimates the cost of the Vietnam draft by applying hedonic methods to the decision to attend college and the decision to voluntarily enlist. In 2009 dollars, the estimated cost of the draft is roughly $115,000 for the marginal military recruit. For the marginal college student, the estimated cost is only $30,000 and probably understates the true amount because men were credit-constrained and college required an upfront cost. Supposing that the costs other than fatality risk were positive, our preferred specifications produce an upper bound on the Value of a Statistical Life ranging from $7 million to $12 million.

Suggested Citation

  • Rohlfs Chris, 2012. "The Economic Cost of Conscription and an Upper Bound on the Value of a Statistical Life: Hedonic Estimates from Two Margins of Response to the Vietnam Draft," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 3(3), pages 1-37, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jbcacn:v:3:y:2012:i:3:n:4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rohlfs, Chris & Sullivan, Ryan & Kniesner, Thomas J., 2013. "Hedonic Estimation under Very General Conditions Using Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs," IZA Discussion Papers 7554, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Chris Rohlfs & Ryan Sullivan & Thomas Kniesner, 2015. "New Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life Using Air Bag Regulations as a Quasi-experiment," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 331-359, February.
    3. Eriksen, Michael D. & Kniesner, Thomas J. & Rohlfs, Chris & Sullivan, Ryan, 2016. "Toward more general hedonic estimation: Clarifying the roles of alternative experimental designs with an application to a housing attribute," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 54-62.
    4. Asoni, Andrea & Sanandaji, Tino, 2013. "Rich Man’s War, Poor Man’s Fight? Socioeconomic Representativeness in the Modern Military," Working Paper Series 965, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 16 Dec 2014.

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