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Age Differences in the Value of Statistical Life: Revealed Preference Evidence

  • Joseph E. Aldy
  • W. Kip Viscusi

Revealed preference evidence, especially based on wage-risk tradeoffs in the labor market, provides the primary empirical basis for analyses of the value of statistical life (VSL). This market evidence also provides guidance on how VSL varies with age. While labor market studies have generated conflicting evidence—some showing that VSL rises with age and others showing that VSL declines with age—more refined estimates that take into account the age variation in job fatality risks or life-cycle patterns of consumption show an inverted U relation between the VSL and age. The value of a statistical life-year shows a similar pattern and is not time-invariant. Applying estimates of the VSL-age relationship to an analysis of the Clear Skies initiative illustrates the implications of recognizing the age-VSL relationship. Copyright 2007, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Review of Environmental Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 1 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (Summer)
Pages: 241-260

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Handle: RePEc:oup:renvpo:v:1:y:2007:i:2:p:241-260
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  1. Moore, Michael J & Viscusi, W Kip, 1988. "The Quantity-Adjusted Value of Life," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(3), pages 369-88, July.
  2. Dreyfus, Mark K & Viscusi, W Kip, 1995. "Rates of Time Preference and Consumer Valuations of Automobile Safety and Fuel Efficiency," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 79-105, April.
  3. 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.
  4. Joseph E. Aldy & W. Kip Viscusi, 2008. "Adjusting the Value of a Statistical Life for Age and Cohort Effects," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 573-581, August.
  5. Kip Viscusi, W. & Aldy, Joseph E., 2007. "Labor market estimates of the senior discount for the value of statistical life," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 377-392, May.
  6. Kniesner Thomas J & Viscusi W. Kip & Ziliak James P, 2006. "Life-Cycle Consumption and the Age-Adjusted Value of Life," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-36, January.
  7. Ronald Meng, 1989. "Compensating Differences in the Canadian Labour Market," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 22(2), pages 413-24, May.
  8. Arnould, Richard J & Nichols, Len M, 1983. "Wage-Risk Premiums and Workers' Compensation: A Refinement of Estimates of Compensating Wage Differential," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 332-40, April.
  9. Donald S. Shepard & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1984. "Survival versus Consumption," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(4), pages 423-439, April.
  10. Viscusi, W. Kip & Moore, Michael J., 1989. "Rates of time preference and valuations of the duration of life," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 297-317, April.
  11. Portney, Paul R., 1981. "Housing prices, health effects, and valuing reductions in risk of death," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 72-78, March.
  12. Moore, Michael J & Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. " Models for Estimating Discount Rates for Long-term Health Risks Using Labor Market Data," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 381-401, December.
  13. 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 263-75, May.
  14. Alan Krupnick, 2007. "Mortality-risk Valuation and Age: Stated Preference Evidence," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 1(2), pages 261-282, Summer.
  15. V. Kerry Smith & Mary F. Evans & Hyun Kim & Donald H. Taylor, 2004. "Do the Near-Elderly Value Mortality Risks Differently?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 423-429, February.
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