IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/jrisku/v31y2005i1p23-34.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Value of a Statistical Life and the Coefficient of Relative Risk Aversion

Author

Listed:
  • Louis Kaplow

Abstract

Individuals’ risk preferences are estimated and employed in a variety of settings, notably including choices in financial, labor, and product markets. Recent work, especially in financial economics, provides estimates of individuals’ coefficients of relative risk aversion (R’s) in excess of one, and often significantly higher. However, it can be shown that high R’s imply equally high values for the income elasticity of the value of a statistical life. Yet estimates of this elasticity, derived from labor and product markets, are in the range of 0.5 to 0.6. Furthermore, it turns out that even an R below one is difficult to reconcile with these elasticity estimates. Thus, there appears to be an important (additional) anomaly involving individuals’ risk-taking behavior in different market settings. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Suggested Citation

  • Louis Kaplow, 2005. "The Value of a Statistical Life and the Coefficient of Relative Risk Aversion," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 23-34, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:31:y:2005:i:1:p:23-34
    DOI: 10.1007/s11166-005-2928-1
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11166-005-2928-1
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    2. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Average Debt and Equity Returns: Puzzling?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 392-397, May.
    3. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92.
    5. Choi, E. Kwan & Menezes, Carmen F., 1992. "Is relative risk aversion greater than one?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 43-54.
    6. Epstein, Larry G. & Zin, Stanley E., 1990. "'First-order' risk aversion and the equity premium puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 387-407, December.
    7. Masson, A. & Pestieau, P., 1996. "Bequests motives and models of inheritance: a survey of the literature," DELTA Working Papers 96-20, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    8. Milind M. Shrikhande, 1997. "Non-addictive Habit Formation and the Equity Premium Puzzle," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 3(3), pages 293-319.
    9. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1991. "The consumption of stockholders and nonstockholders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 97-112, March.
    10. Raj Chetty, 2006. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1821-1834, December.
    11. Alon Brav & George M. Constantinides & Christopher C. Geczy, 2002. "Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers and Limited Participation: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 793-824, August.
    12. Campbell, John Y, 1996. "Understanding Risk and Return," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 298-345, April.
    13. W. Kip Viscusi, 1994. "Mortality Effects of Regulatory Costs and Policy Evaluation Criteria," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 94-109, Spring.
    14. B. Douglas Bernheim & Katherine Grace Carman & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2001. "The Mismatch Between Life Insurance Holdings and Financial Vulnerabilities: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," NBER Working Papers 8544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Viscusi, W Kip & Aldy, Joseph E, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 5-76, August.
    16. Viscusi, W Kip & Evans, William N, 1990. "Utility Functions That Depend on Health Status: Estimates and Economic Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 353-374, June.
    17. Constantinides, George M, 1990. "Habit Formation: A Resolution of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 519-543, June.
    18. Louis Kaplow, 2005. "The Value of a Statistical Life and the Coefficient of Relative Risk Aversion," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 23-34, July.
    19. Maital, Shlomo, 1973. "Public Goods and Income Distribution: Some Further Results," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(3), pages 561-568, May.
    20. Blake, David, 1996. "Efficiency, Risk Aversion and Portfolio Insurance: An Analysis of Financial Asset Portfolios Held by Investors in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1175-1192, September.
    21. Campbell, John Y., 2003. "Consumption-based asset pricing," Handbook of the Economics of Finance,in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 803-887 Elsevier.
    22. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
    23. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1985. "Consumer Durables and the Real Interest Rate," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 353-362, August.
    24. Donald Meyer & Jack Meyer, 2005. "Relative Risk Aversion: What Do We Know?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 243-262, December.
    25. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
    26. Palsson, Anne-Marie, 1996. "Does the degree of relative risk aversion vary with household characteristics?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 771-787, December.
    27. Louis Kaplow, 2003. "Concavity of Utility, Concavity of Welfare, and Redistribution of Income," NBER Working Papers 10005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "The Equity Premium: It's Still a Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 42-71, March.
    29. B. Douglas Bernheim & Katherine Grace Carman & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2003. "Are Life Insurance Holdings Related to Financial Vulnerabilities?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(4), pages 531-554, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    coefficient of risk aversion; equity premium; risk aversion; value of a statistical life;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:31:y:2005:i:1:p:23-34. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.