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

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  • Hultkrantz, Lars
  • Svensson, Mikael

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hultkrantz, Lars & Svensson, Mikael, 2012. "The value of a statistical life in Sweden: A review of the empirical literature," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 302-310.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:108:y:2012:i:2:p:302-310
    DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2012.09.007
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    Cited by:

    1. Andersson, Henrik & Hole, Arne Risa & Svensson, Mikael, 2016. "Valuation of small and multiple health risks: A critical analysis of SP data applied to food and water safety," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 41-53.
    2. Andersson , Henrik & Hultkrantz , Lars & Lindberg , Gunnar & Nilsson , Jan-Eric, 2017. "The role of economic analysis for investment priorities in Sweden’s transport sector," Working papers in Transport Economics 2017:12, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
    3. Mikael Svensson & Fredrik Nilsson & Karl Arnberg, 2015. "Reimbursement Decisions for Pharmaceuticals in Sweden: The Impact of Disease Severity and Cost Effectiveness," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 33(11), pages 1229-1236, November.
    4. Gyrd-Hansen, Dorte & Kjær, Trine & Seested Nielsen, Jytte, 2016. "The value of mortality risk reductions. Pure altruism – a confounder?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 184-192.
    5. Hultkrantz, Lars & Svensson, Mikael, 2012. "A Comparison of Benefit Cost and Cost Utility Analysis in Practice: Divergent Policies in Sweden," Karlstad University Working Papers in Economics 1, Karlstad University, Department of Economics.
    6. Michal Jakubczyk, 2016. "Estimating the membership function of the fuzzy willingness-to-pay/accept for health via Bayesian modelling," Working Papers 2016-011, Warsaw School of Economics, Collegium of Economic Analysis.
    7. Lazuka, Volha & Quaranta, Luciana & Bengtsson, Tommy, 2015. "Fighting Infectious Disease: Evidence from Sweden 1870-1940," IZA Discussion Papers 9313, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Jaldell Henrik, 2013. "Cost-benefit analyses of sprinklers in nursing homes for elderly," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 209-235, August.
    9. Olofsson, Sara & Gerdtham , Ulf-G & Hultkrantz , Lars & Persson , Ulf, 2016. "Value of a QALY and VSI Estimated with the Chained Approach," Working Papers 2016:33, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    10. Olofsson , Sara & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Hultkrantz, Lars & Persson, Ulf, 2016. "Dread and Risk Elimination Premium for the Value of a Statistical Life," Working Papers 2016:22, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    11. Svensson, Mikael & Hultkrantz, Lars, 2012. "The Willingness to Pay for a QALY - Results based on value of statistical life estimates in Sweden," Karlstad University Working Papers in Economics 2, Karlstad University, Department of Economics.
    12. Olofsson, Sara & Gerdtham , Ulf-G & Hultkrantz , Lars & Persson , Ulf, 2016. "Chained Approach vs Contingent Valuation for Estimating the Value of Risk Reduction," Working Papers 2016:34, Lund University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Willingness to pay; Value of a statistical life; Stated preferences; Revealed preferences; Economic evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health

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