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Are estimates of the value of a statistical life exaggerated?

Author

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  • Doucouliagos, Chris
  • Stanley, T.D.
  • Giles, Margaret

Abstract

The magnitude of the value of a statistical life (VSL) is critical to the evaluation of many health and safety initiatives. To date, the large and rigorous VSL research literature has not explicitly accommodated publication selectivity bias (i.e., the reduced probability that insignificant or negative VSL values are reported). This study demonstrates that doing so is essential. For studies that employ hedonic wage equations to estimate VSL, correction for selection bias reduces the average value of a statistical life by 70–80%. Our meta-regression analysis also identifies several sources for the wide heterogeneity found among reported VSL estimates.

Suggested Citation

  • Doucouliagos, Chris & Stanley, T.D. & Giles, Margaret, 2012. "Are estimates of the value of a statistical life exaggerated?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 197-206.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:31:y:2012:i:1:p:197-206
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2011.10.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Nazila Alinaghi & W. Robert Reed, 2016. "Meta-Analysis and Publication Bias: How Well Does the FAT-PET-PEESE Procedure Work?," Working Papers in Economics 16/26, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    3. Ugur, Mehmet & Trushin, Eshref & Solomon, Edna & Guidi, Francesco, 2016. "R&D and productivity in OECD firms and industries: A hierarchical meta-regression analysis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 2069-2086.
    4. Feld, Lars P. & Heckemeyer, Jost H. & Overesch, Michael, 2013. "Capital structure choice and company taxation: A meta-study," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 2850-2866.
    5. Stephan B. Bruns, 2013. "Identifying Genuine Effects in Observational Research by Means of Meta-Regressions," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-040, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    6. Polat, Sezgin, 2013. "Wage Compensation for Risk: The Case of Turkey," GIAM Working Papers 13-11, Galatasaray University Economic Research Center.
    7. Stanley, T. D. & Doucouliagos, Chris & Steel, Piers, 2015. "Does ICT generate economic growth? A meta-regression analysis," Economics Series eco_2015_9, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
    8. Abel Brodeur & Mathias Lé & Marc Sangnier & Yanos Zylberberg, 2016. "Star Wars: The Empirics Strike Back," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 1-32, January.
    9. Havranek, Tomas & Herman, Dominik & Irsova, Zuzana, 2016. "Does Daylight Saving Save Energy? A Meta-Analysis," MPRA Paper 74518, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2017. "Social Insurance and Health," IZA Discussion Papers 10918, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Heckemeyer, Jost H. & Overesch, Michael, 2013. "Multinationals' profit response to tax differentials: Effect size and shifting channels," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-045, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    12. Doucouliagos, Hristos & Stanley, T.D. & Viscusi, W. Kip, 2014. "Publication selection and the income elasticity of the value of a statistical life," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 67-75.
    13. Irz, Xavier & Leroy, Pascal & Réquillart, Vincent & Soler, Louis-Georges, 2016. "Welfare and sustainability effects of dietary recommendations," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 139-155.
    14. Ugur, Mehmet & Guidi, Francesco & Solomon, Edna & Trushin, Eshref, 2014. "R&D investment, productivity and rates of return: A meta-analysis of the evidence on OECD firms and industries," MPRA Paper 59686, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 22 Oct 2014.
    15. Kluve, Jochen & Puerto, Olga Susana & Robalino, David A. & Romero, Jose M. & Rother, Friederike & Stöterau, Jonathan & Weidenkaff, Felix & Witte, Marc, 2016. "Do Youth Employment Programs Improve Labor Market Outcomes? A Systematic Review," IZA Discussion Papers 10263, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Michal Jakubczyk, 2016. "Choosing from multiple alternatives in cost-effectiveness analysis with fuzzy willingness-to-pay/accept and uncertainty," Working Papers 2016-006, Warsaw School of Economics, Collegium of Economic Analysis.
    17. Reed, W. Robert, 2015. "A Monte Carlo analysis of alternative meta-analysis estimators in the presence of publication bias," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 9, pages 1-40.
    18. Guardado, José R. & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2013. "A Model of Worker Investment in Safety and Its Effects on Accidents and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 7428, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Megan Linde Leonard & T. D. Stanley & Hristos Doucouliagos, 2014. "Does the UK Minimum Wage Reduce Employment? A Meta-Regression Analysis," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 52(3), pages 499-520, September.
    20. Chris Doucouliagos, 2016. "Meta-regression analysis: Producing credible estimates from diverse evidence," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 320-320, November.
    21. Gallet, Craig A. & Doucouliagos, Hristos, 2017. "The impact of healthcare spending on health outcomes: A meta-regression analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 9-17.
    22. repec:kap:jrisku:v:54:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11166-017-9255-1 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Value of statistical life; Meta-regression analysis; Selectivity bias;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • C20 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - General

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    1. Meta-Analysis in Economics

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