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Are estimates of the value of a statistical life exaggerated?

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

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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 31 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 197-206

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:31:y:2012:i:1:p:197-206
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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