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The value of a statistical life: A meta-analysis with a mixed effects regression model

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  • Bellavance, Franois
  • Dionne, Georges
  • Lebeau, Martin

Abstract

The value of a statistical life (VSL) is a very controversial topic, but one which is essential to the optimization of governmental decisions. We see a great variability in the values obtained from different studies. The source of this variability needs to be understood, in order to offer public decision-makers better guidance in choosing a value and to set clearer guidelines for future research on the topic. This article presents a meta-analysis based on 39 observations obtained from 37 studies (from nine different countries) which all use a hedonic wage method to calculate the VSL. Our meta-analysis is innovative in that it is the first to use the mixed effects regression model [Raudenbush, S.W., 1994. Random effects models. In: Cooper, H., Hedges, L.V. (Eds.), The Handbook of Research Synthesis. Russel Sage Foundation, New York] to analyze studies on the value of a statistical life. We conclude that the variability found in the values studied stems in large part from differences in methodologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Bellavance, Franois & Dionne, Georges & Lebeau, Martin, 2009. "The value of a statistical life: A meta-analysis with a mixed effects regression model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 444-464, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:2:p:444-464
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    Keywords

    Value of a statistical life Meta-analysis Mixed effects regression model Hedonic wage method Risk;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J58 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Public Policy

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