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To Be, or Not to Be, That Is the Question: An Empirical Study of the WTP for an Increased Life Expectancy at an Advanced Age


  • Johannesson, Magnus
  • Johansson, Per-Olov


This study reports an attempt to measure the value of an increased survival probability at advanced ages. It turns out that the average willingness to pay for a program which would increase the expected length of life by one year, conditional on having survived to the age of 75 years, is lower than $1,500. The willingness to pay increases with a person's age, but at a low and seemingly constant rate (1-4 percent per year). Copyright 1996 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov, 1996. "To Be, or Not to Be, That Is the Question: An Empirical Study of the WTP for an Increased Life Expectancy at an Advanced Age," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 163-174, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:13:y:1996:i:2:p:163-74

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joel Huber and Kenneth Train., 2000. "On the Similarity of Classical and Bayesian Estimates of Individual Mean Partworths," Economics Working Papers E00-289, University of California at Berkeley.
    2. W. Viscusi & Joel Huber & Jason Bell, 2008. "The Economic Value of Water Quality," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 41(2), pages 169-187, October.
    3. Heberlein, Thomas A. & Wilson, Matthew A. & Bishop, Richard C. & Schaeffer, Nora Cate, 2005. "Rethinking the scope test as a criterion for validity in contingent valuation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 1-22, July.
    4. Cropper, Maureen & Laibson, David, 1998. "The implications of hyperbolic discounting for project evaluation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1943, The World Bank.
    5. Richard C. Bishop & Michael P. Welsh, 1992. "Existence Values in Benefit-Cost Analysis and Damage Assessment," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 68(4), pages 405-417.
    6. Smith, V. Kerry & Osborne, Laura L., 1996. "Do Contingent Valuation Estimates Pass a "Scope" Test? A Meta-analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 287-301, November.
    7. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387, May.
    8. Huber, Joel & Viscusi, W. Kip & Bell, Jason, 2008. "Reference dependence in iterative choices," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 143-152, July.
    9. Horowitz, John K & Carson, Richard T, 1990. "Discounting Statistical Lives," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 403-413, December.
    10. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    11. George Loewenstein, 2000. "Emotions in Economic Theory and Economic Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 426-432, May.
    12. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    13. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2006. "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 694-719, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Alberini & Alistair Hunt & Anil Markandya, 2006. "Willingness to Pay to Reduce Mortality Risks: Evidence from a Three-Country Contingent Valuation Study," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 33(2), pages 251-264, February.
    2. G. Dionne & P. Lanoie, 2002. "How to Make a Public Choice about the Value of a Statistical Life : The Case of Road Safety," THEMA Working Papers 2002-14, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    3. Anna Alberini & Maureen Cropper & Alan Krupnick & Nathalie Simon, 2006. "Willingness to pay for mortality risk reductions: Does latency matter?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 231-245, May.
    4. Krupnick, Alan & Cropper, Maureen & Alberini, Anna & Simon, Nathalie & Itaoka, Kenshi & Akai, Makoto, 1999. "Mortality Risk Valuation for Environmental Policy," Discussion Papers dp-99-47, Resources For the Future.
    5. Burtraw, Dallas, 2000. "Innovation Under the Tradable Sulfur Dioxide Emission Permits Program in the U.S. Electricity Sector," Discussion Papers dp-00-38, Resources For the Future.
    6. Jim Neumann & Harriet Greenwood, 2002. "Existing Literature and Recommended Strategies for Valuation of Children's Health Effects," NCEE Working Paper Series 200207, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Sep 2002.
    7. Michael Hoel, 2003. "Allocating health care resources when people are risk averse with respect to life time," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(7), pages 601-608.
    8. Lawless, Lydia J.R. & Drichoutis, Andreas & Nayga, Rodolfo & Threlfall, Renee T. & Meullenet, Jean-François, 2012. "Identifying product attributes and consumer attitudes that impact willingness-to-pay for a nutraceutical-rich juice product," MPRA Paper 53023, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 18 Jan 2014.
    9. Zethraeus, Niklas & Johansson, Per-Olov, 1997. "Willingness to Pay for Hormone Replacement Therapy," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 214, Stockholm School of Economics.
    10. Henrik Andersson & Nicolas Treich, 2011. "The Value of a Statistical Life," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 17 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Kenshi Itaoka & Alan Krupnick & Makoto Akai & Anna Alberini & Maureen Cropper & Nathalie Simon, 2007. "Age, health, and the willingness to pay for mortality risk reductions: a contingent valuation survey of Shizuoka, Japan, residents," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 8(3), pages 211-237, September.
    12. Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov & Soderqvist, Tore, 1998. "Time spent on waiting lists for medical care: an insurance approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 627-644, October.
    13. A. Freeman, 2006. "Valuing Environmental Health Effects – An Economic Perspective," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 34(3), pages 347-363, July.
    14. Joan Costa Font & Juan Rovira Forns, 2004. "Willigness to Pay for Long-Term Care Coverage: the Role of Private Information and Self-Insurance," Working Papers in Economics 124, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    15. Wolfram Krewitt & Mike Holland & Alfred Trukenmüller & Thomas Heck & Rainer Friedrich, 1999. "Comparing costs and environmental benefits of strategies to combat acidification and ozone in Europe," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 2(4), pages 249-266, December.
    16. Klose, Thomas, 1999. "The contingent valuation method in health care," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 97-123, May.
    17. Dallas Burtraw & Alan Krupnick & Erin Mansur & David Austin & Deirdre Farrell, 1998. "Costs And Benefits Of Reducing Air Pollutants Related To Acid Rain," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(4), pages 379-400, October.
    18. Hammitt, James & Roman, Henry & Stieb, David & Walsh, Tyra, 2012. "Expert Elicitation of the Value per Statistical Life in an Air Pollution Context," LERNA Working Papers 12.10.367, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
    19. DREZE , Jacques H. & RUSTICHINI, Aldo, 2000. "State-dependent utility and decision theory," CORE Discussion Papers 2000007, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    20. Jytte Nielsen & Susan Chilton & Michael Jones-Lee & Hugh Metcalf, 2010. "How would you like your gain in life expectancy to be provided? An experimental approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 195-218, December.
    21. Andersson, Henrik, 2006. "Willingness to Pay for Road Safety and Estimates of the Risk of Death: Evidence from a Swedish Contingent Valuation Study," Working Papers 2006:5, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
    22. Lars Hein & Pete Roberts & Lucia Gonzalez, 2016. "Valuing a Statistical Life Year in Relation to Clean Air," Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management (JEAPM), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 18(04), pages 1-24, December.
    23. Krupnick, Alan & Alberini, Anna & Simon, Nathalie & Itaoka, Kenshi & Akai, Makoto & Cropper, Maureen, 2005. "Age, Health, and the Willingness to Pay for Mortality Risk Reductions: A Contingent Valuation Survey in Japan," Discussion Papers dp-05-34, Resources For the Future.
    24. Rachel Baker & Anna Bartczak & Susan Chilton & Hugh Metcalf, 2012. "Did people "buy" what was "sold"? A qualitative evaluation a Contingent Valuation survey information set for gains in life expectancy," Working Papers 2012-16, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.

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