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Self-Protection and Averting Behavior, Values of Statistical Lives, and Benefit Cost Analysis of Environmental Policy

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  • Glenn C. Blomquist

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Abstract

Situations in which risk is at least partly a matter of choice provide opportunities to analyze behavior and estimate the willingness to pay for small changes in mortality risks. Individuals engage in household production of health and safety as long as the value of the gain in risk reduction is worth the money, time, and any disutility necessary to produce the reduction in risk. This paper reviews values of statistical life inferred from choices about highway speeds, traveler use of protective equipment, crashworthiness of motor vehicles, and housing location near Superfund sites. The best estimates, close to $4 million in year 2000 dollars, are valuable complements to estimates from labor and constructed markets. Interestingly some evidence suggests that values for children and seniors are not less than middle-aged adults. Issues of risk perception and other challenges related to estimation are discussed.

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  • Glenn C. Blomquist, 2004. "Self-Protection and Averting Behavior, Values of Statistical Lives, and Benefit Cost Analysis of Environmental Policy," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 89-110, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:2:y:2004:i:1:p:89-110
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    2. Anna Alberini, 2017. "Measuring the economic value of the effects of chemicals on ecological systems and human health," OECD Environment Working Papers 116, OECD Publishing.
    3. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2004. "Estimating the Value of a Statistical Life: The Importance of Omitted Variables and Publication Bias," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 454-460, May.
    4. Winslott Hiselius, Lena, 2003. "The Value of Road and Railway Safety - an Overview," Working Papers 2003:13, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    5. Orley Ashenfelter, 2006. "Measuring the Value of a Statistical Life: Problems and Prospects," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 10-23, March.
    6. Benkhalifa, Abdelaziz, 2010. "The value of mortality risk reductions in the Tunisian building and manufacturing industries," MPRA Paper 63617, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    8. Andersson, Henrik, 2013. "Consistency in preferences for road safety: An analysis of precautionary and stated behavior," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 41-49.
    9. Alberini, Anna & Chiabai, Aline, 2007. "Urban environmental health and sensitive populations: How much are the Italians willing to pay to reduce their risks?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 239-258, March.
    10. John C. Whitehead & Subhrendu K. Pattanayak & George L. Van Houtven & Brett R. Gelso, 2008. "Combining Revealed And Stated Preference Data To Estimate The Nonmarket Value Of Ecological Services: An Assessment Of The State Of The Science," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(5), pages 872-908, December.
    11. 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).
    12. Bergstrom Ted C. & Garratt Rod & Sheehan-Connor Damien, 2012. "Stem Cell Donor Matching for Patients of Mixed Race," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-27, July.
    13. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2004. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 226-267, February.
    14. Andreas Schaefer, 2016. "Survival to Adulthood and the Growth Drag of Pollution," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 16/241, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    15. Henrik Andersson & Nicolas Treich, 2011. "The Value of a Statistical Life," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 17 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    17. Majumder, Agamoni & Madheswaran, S., 2016. "Value of statistical life: A meta analysis with mixed effects regression model," Working Papers 362, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.
    18. Robinson Lisa A. & Hammitt James K., 2013. "Skills of the trade: valuing health risk reductions in benefit-cost analysis," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 107-130, March.
    19. Mikael Svensson, 2009. "Precautionary behavior and willingness to pay for a mortality risk reduction: Searching for the expected relationship," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 65-85, August.
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    21. Henrik Andersson, 2005. "The Value of Safety as Revealed in the Swedish Car Market: An Application of the Hedonic Pricing Approach," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 211-239, May.
    22. Dorota Girard, 2010. "The distribution over time of costs and social net benefits for pertussis immunization programs," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 1-27, March.
    23. Louise B Russell, 2014. "Do We Really Value Identified Lives More Highly Than Statistical Lives?," Departmental Working Papers 201413, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    24. Strand, Jon, 2009. "Valuing statistical lives from observations of speed limits and driving behavior," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2003:21, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
    25. Abraham, Rosa, 2016. "Informal employment in India: An analysis of forms and determinants," Working Papers 363, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.

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