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The value of a statistical life in Sweden: A review of the empirical literature

  • Hultkrantz, Lars
  • Svensson, Mikael

Recent focus on cost-benefit/socio-economic assessment of government “life-saving” programmes within public health, pharmaceutics, transport, and civil contingencies has spurred a wave of empirical research on the value of a statistical life (VSL) in Sweden. This paper provides an overview of the received evidence from a range of studies in one country and over a relatively short time period. A literature search was conducted in Econlit, Pubmed, Google Scholar and in bibliographies of published papers. Twelve studies on VSL with a total of 48 VSL estimates, published with data from Sweden from 1996 onwards, were identified. Among all estimates VSL varies from 9 to 1121 million SEK (€0.9–121 million). Based on a set of additional quality inclusion criteria, as used also in a recent global review of VSL studies, the sample is restricted to 9 studies with a total of 29 VSL estimates with VSL varying from 9 to 98 million SEK (€0.9–10.6 million). The raw mean among these estimates is 34.6 million SEK (€3.7 million) and the median is 23 million SEK (€2.5 million). Currently, official authorities in Sweden recommend a VSL of 22 million Swedish kronor (€2.4 million). We also point out important concerns regarding validity of these estimates: primarily the problem that VSL is significantly related to the size of the mortality risk reduction showing significant scale insensitivity, in contrast to theoretical assumptions but in line with previous empirical findings.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Health Policy.

Volume (Year): 108 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 302-310

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Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:108:y:2012:i:2:p:302-310
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/healthpol

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