IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/jrisku/v54y2017i2d10.1007_s11166-017-9255-1.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Anchoring biases in international estimates of the value of a statistical life

Author

Listed:
  • W. Kip Viscusi

    () (Vanderbilt Law School)

  • Clayton Masterman

    (Vanderbilt Law School)

Abstract

Abstract U.S. labor market estimates of the value of a statistical life (VSL) were the first revealed preference estimates of the VSL in the literature and continue to constitute the majority of such market estimates. The VSL estimates in U.S. studies consequently may have established a reference point for the estimates that researchers analyzing data from other countries are willing to report and that journals are willing to publish. This article presents the first comparison of the publication selection biases in U.S. and international estimates using a sample of 68 VSL studies with over 1000 VSL estimates throughout the world. Publication selection biases vary across the VSL distribution and are greater for the larger VSL estimates. The estimates of publication selection biases distinguish between U.S. and international studies as well as between government and non-government data sources. Empirical estimates that correct for the impact of these biases reduce the VSL estimates, particularly for studies based on international data. This pattern of publication bias effects is consistent with international studies relying on U.S. estimates as an anchor for the levels of reasonable estimates. U.S. estimates based on the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries constitute the only major set of VSL studies for which there is no evidence of statistically significant publication selection effects. Adjusting a baseline bias-adjusted U.S. VSL estimate of $9.6 million using estimates of the income elasticity of the VSL may be a sounder approach for generating international estimates of the VSL than relying on direct estimates from international studies.

Suggested Citation

  • W. Kip Viscusi & Clayton Masterman, 2017. "Anchoring biases in international estimates of the value of a statistical life," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 103-128, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:54:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11166-017-9255-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s11166-017-9255-1
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11166-017-9255-1
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. G. Arabsheibani & A. Marin, 2000. "Stability of Estimates of the Compensation for Danger," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 247-269, May.
    2. Thomas Kniesner & W. Viscusi & James Ziliak, 2014. "Willingness to accept equals willingness to pay for labor market estimates of the value of a statistical life," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 187-205, June.
    3. Gegax, Douglas & Gerking, Shelby & Schulze, William, 1991. "Perceived Risk and the Marginal Value of Safety," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 589-596, November.
    4. Miller, Paul & Mulvey, Charles & Norris, Keith, 1997. "Compensating Differentials for Risk of Death in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 73(223), pages 363-372, December.
    5. 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.
    6. Siebert, W Stanley & Wei, X, 1994. "Compensating Wage Differentials for Workplace Accidents: Evidence for Union and Nonunion Workers in the UK," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 61-76, July.
    7. R. A. Meng & Douglas A. Smith, 1990. "The Valuation of Risk of Death in Public Sector Decision-Making," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 16(2), pages 137-144, June.
    8. Thomas Kniesner & W. Viscusi & James Ziliak, 2010. "Policy relevant heterogeneity in the value of statistical life: New evidence from panel data quantile regressions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 15-31, February.
    9. Schaffner, Sandra & Spengler, Hannes, 2010. "Using job changes to evaluate the bias of value of a statistical life estimates," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 15-27, January.
    10. W. Kip Viscusi, 2015. "The Role of Publication Selection Bias in Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 27-52, Winter.
    11. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    12. Bellavance, Franois & Dionne, Georges & Lebeau, Martin, 2009. "The value of a statistical life: A meta-analysis with a mixed effects regression model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 444-464, March.
    13. Cousineau, Jean-Michel & Lacroix, Robert & Girard, Anne-Marie, 1992. "Occupational Hazard and Wage Compensating Differentials," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 166-169, February.
    14. 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.
    15. Sandy, Robert & Elliott, Robert F, 1996. "Unions and Risk: Their Impact on the Level of Compensation for Fatal Risk," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages 291-309, May.
    16. Shanmugam, K R, 2001. "Self Selection Bias in the Estimates of Compensating Differentials for Job Risks in India," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 263-275, May.
    17. W. Viscusi & Elissa Gentry, 2015. "The value of a statistical life for transportation regulations: A test of the benefits transfer methodology," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 53-77, August.
    18. Muhammad Rafiq & Mir Kalan Shah, 2010. "The Value of Reduced Risk of Injury and Deaths in Pakistan—Using Actual and Perceived Risk Estimates," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 49(4), pages 823-837.
    19. Marin, Alan & Psacharopoulos, George, 1982. "The Reward for Risk in the Labor Market: Evidence from the United Kingdom and a Reconciliation with Other Studies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 827-853, August.
    20. Ronald Meng, 1989. "Compensating Differences in the Canadian Labour Market," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 22(2), pages 413-424, May.
    21. Black, Dan A & Kniesner, Thomas J, 2003. "On the Measurement of Job Risk in Hedonic Wage Models," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 205-220, December.
    22. Andrea Baranzini & Giovanni Ferro Luzzi, 2001. "The Economic Value of Risks to Life: Evidence from the Swiss Labour Market," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 137(II), pages 149-170, June.
    23. K. Shanmugam, 2000. "Valuations of Life and Injury Risks," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 16(4), pages 379-389, August.
    24. Marcela Parada-Contzen & Andrés Riquelme-Won & Felipe Vasquez-Lavin, 2013. "The value of a statistical life in Chile," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 1073-1087, December.
    25. Low, Stuart A & McPheters, Lee R, 1983. "Wage Differentials and Risk of Death: An Empirical Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(2), pages 271-280, April.
    26. Wehn-Jyuan Tsai & Jin-Tan Liu & James Hammitt, 2011. "Aggregation Biases in Estimates of the Value per Statistical Life: Evidence from Longitudinal Matched Worker-Firm Data in Taiwan," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(3), pages 425-443, July.
    27. Kim, Seung-Wook & Fishback, Price V, 1999. "The Impact of Institutional Change on Compensating Wage Differentials for Accident Risk: South Korea, 1984-1990," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 231-248, October.
    28. A. Colin Cameron & Douglas L. Miller, 2015. "A Practitioner’s Guide to Cluster-Robust Inference," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 317-372.
    29. Felice Martinello & Ronald Meng, 1992. "Workplace Risks and the Value of Hazard Avoidance," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(2), pages 333-345, May.
    30. Ronald Meng & Douglas Smith, 1999. "The impact of workers' compensation on wage premiums for job hazards," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(9), pages 1101-1108.
    31. Marek Giergiczny, 2008. "Value of a Statistical Life—the Case of Poland," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 41(2), pages 209-221, October.
    32. Lanoie, Paul & Pedro, Carmen & Latour, Robert, 1995. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Comparison of Two Approaches," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 235-257, May.
    33. Morley Gunderson & Douglas Hyatt, 2001. "Workplace risks and wages: Canadian evidence from alternative models," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 377-395, May.
    34. Liu, Jin-Tan & Hammitt, James K. & Liu, Jin-Long, 1997. "Estimated hedonic wage function and value of life in a developing country," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 353-358, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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:54:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11166-017-9255-1. 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.