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On the Value of Changes in Life Expectancy: Blips versus Parametric Changes

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  • Johannesson, Magnus
  • Johansson, Per-Olov
  • Lofgren, Karl-Gustaf

Abstract

We estimate the value of a 'blip', i.e. an immediate small reduction, in the hazard rate for a random sample of Swedes. Since the risk reduction is age-independent (2 'extra saved lives' out of 10,000 during the next year), we can examine how the value of a statistical life varies with age. We also show how blip data can be used to obtain a lower bound for the value of a permanent change in an individual's hazard rate. The value of a life exhibits an inverted-U shape with respect to age, peaking at the age of 40, and lies within the $3 to $7 million interval where most reasonable estimates are clustered according to Viscusi's (1992) survey. Copyright 1997 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov & Lofgren, Karl-Gustaf, 1997. "On the Value of Changes in Life Expectancy: Blips versus Parametric Changes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 221-239, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:15:y:1997:i:3:p:221-39
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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, March.
    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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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate

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