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Are some lives more valuable? An ethical preferences approach

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  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof
  • Martinsson, Peter

Abstract

We develop a theoretical model of the ethical preferences of individuals, combining individual social welfare functions and random utility theory. The model is applied by conducting a choice experiment regarding safety-enhancing road investments that target different age groups and road user types. The relative value of a saved life is found to decrease with age, such that the present value of a saved life-year is almost independent of age at a pure rate of time preference of a few percent. Moreover, a saved pedestrian is consistently valued higher than a saved car driver of the same age.

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  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Martinsson, Peter, 2008. "Are some lives more valuable? An ethical preferences approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 739-752, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:27:y:2008:i:3:p:739-752
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    Cited by:

    1. Elvik, Rune, 2013. "Paradoxes of rationality in road safety policy," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 62-70.
    2. Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2012. "Are most people consequentialists?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 225-228.
    3. 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.
    4. Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala & Henrik Jaldell, 2012. "Do administrators have the same priorities for risk reductions as the general public?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 79-95, August.
    5. Judith Covey & Angela Robinson & Michael Jones-Lee & Graham Loomes, 2010. "Responsibility, scale and the valuation of rail safety," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 85-108, February.
    6. 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.
    7. Bert van Wee, 2011. "Transport and Ethics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14281.
    8. Friedrich Breyer, 2009. "Health Care Rationing and Distributive Justice," Rationality, Markets and Morals, Frankfurt School Verlag, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, vol. 0(27), November.
    9. 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.
    10. repec:eee:transa:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:333-349 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Kjær, Trine & Nielsen, Jytte Seested, 2016. "An investigation into procedure (in)variance in the valuation of mortality risk reductions," COHERE Working Paper 2016:4, University of Southern Denmark, COHERE - Centre of Health Economics Research.
    12. Lancsar, Emily & Wildman, John & Donaldson, Cam & Ryan, Mandy & Baker, Rachel, 2011. "Deriving distributional weights for QALYs through discrete choice experiments," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 466-478, March.
    13. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & van den Berg, Bernard, 2011. "Putting different price tags on the same health condition: Re-evaluating the well-being valuation approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1032-1043.
    14. Anthony J Culyer & Yvonne Bombard, 2011. "An Equity Checklist: a Framework for Health Technology Assessments," Working Papers 062cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
    15. Bert Wee & Piet Rietveld, 2013. "Using value of statistical life for the ex ante evaluation of transport policy options: a discussion based on ethical theory," Transportation, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 295-314, February.

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