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Monetary Value of a Life Expectancy Gain due to Reduced Air Pollution : Lessons from a Contingent Valuation in France


  • Brigitte Desaigues
  • Ari Rabl
  • Dominique Ami
  • Kene Boun My
  • Serge Masson
  • Marie-Anne Salomon
  • Laure Santoni


This paper presents the results of a contingent valuation in France of the life expectancy gain due to a reduction of air pollution. A questionnaire developed by Krupnick at al. [2002] for North America was translated and administered to 300 individuals aged 40 to 75, but by contrast to the application in other countries, an open question was added after each set of bids and at the end of the questionnaire the willingness-to-pay (WTP) values were recalled to give the respondents the opportunity to correct their values. Each questionnaire was followed by detailed written debriefing to learn how the respondents interpreted the questions. Furthermore, to test the robustness of the answers and provide guidance for improving the questionnaire, five variants were tested (with about 50 individuals for each), including variants phrased in terms of life expectancy gain. That allows to evaluate the sensitivity of the answers to the bids offered, and to the way how the good is described. The results are used to provide estimates for the value of a life year (VOLY): they range from 0.020 to 0.220 M€. The wide scatter of the results is a reflection of the difficulties that the respondents have in understanding risk reductions and replying to the WTP question.

Suggested Citation

  • Brigitte Desaigues & Ari Rabl & Dominique Ami & Kene Boun My & Serge Masson & Marie-Anne Salomon & Laure Santoni, 2007. "Monetary Value of a Life Expectancy Gain due to Reduced Air Pollution : Lessons from a Contingent Valuation in France," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 117(5), pages 675-698.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:repdal:redp_175_0675

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gerald Auten & Geoffrey Gee & Nicholas Turner, 2013. "Income Inequality, Mobility, and Turnover at the Top in the US, 1987-2010," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 168-172, May.
    2. Thomas Piketty & Gilles Postel-Vinay & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2006. "Wealth Concentration in a Developing Economy: Paris and France, 1807–1994," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 236-256, March.
    3. Hochguertel, Stefan & Ohlsson, Henry, 2012. "Who is at the top? Wealth mobility over the life cycle," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2012:1, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    4. Auten, Gerald & Gee, Geoffrey, 2009. "Income Mobility in the United States: New Evidence From Income Tax Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 62(2), pages 301-328, June.
    5. Gerald Auten & Geofrey Gee & Nicholas Turner, 2013. "New Perspectives on Income Mobility and Inequality," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 66(4), pages 893-912, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ami, Dominique & Aprahamian, Frédéric & Chanel, Olivier & Joulé, Robert-Vincent & Luchini, Stéphane, 2014. "Willingness to pay of committed citizens: A field experiment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 31-39.
    2. repec:eee:jeeman:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:165-189 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Lisa A. Robinson & James K. Hammitt, 2013. "Behavioral economics and the conduct of benefit–cost analysis: towards principles and standards," Chapters,in: Principles and Standards for Benefit–Cost Analysis, chapter 10, pages 317-363 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Courard-Hauri David & Lauer Stephen A., 2012. "Taking "All Men Are Created Equal" Seriously: Toward a Metric for the Intergroup Comparison of Utility Functions Through Life Values," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 3(3), pages 1-30, August.
    5. Pierre-Alexandre Mahieu & Romain Craste & Bengt Kriström & Pere Riera, 2014. "Non-market valuation in France: An overview of the research activity," Working Papers hal-01087365, HAL.
    6. Lars Hein & Pete Roberts & Lucia Gonzalez, 2016. "Valuing a Statistical Life Year in Relation to Clean Air," Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management (JEAPM), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 18(04), pages 1-24, December.
    7. Hammitt, James K. & Herrera-Araujo, Daniel, 2017. "Peeling back the onion: Using latent class analysis to uncover heterogeneous responses to stated preference surveys," TSE Working Papers 17-766, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).


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