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How to correctly assess mortality benefits in public policies

  • Olivier Chanel
  • Pascale Scapecchi
  • Jean-Christophe Vergnaud

This paper concerns the difficulty of taking long-term effects on health into account in an economic valuation. Indeed, public decision makers should incorporate the cessation lag between implementation of an abatement policy and achievement of all of the expected mortality-related benefits for any projects involving health impacts. This paper shows how this time lag problem can be handled by proposing two approaches—either in terms of deaths avoided or of life years saved—within a dynamic perspective. The main findings are that long-term health benefits calculated by standard methods and widely applied to adverse health effects should be corrected downwards when incorporated into an economic analysis. The magnitude of correction depends on the discount rate, on technical choices dealing with epidemiology and on the method chosen to assess mortality benefits.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.

Volume (Year): 49 (2006)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 759-776

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jenpmg:v:49:y:2006:i:5:p:759-776
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  1. Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov, 1997. "Quality of life and the WTP for an increased life expectancy at an advanced age," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 219-228, August.
  2. Hugh Gravelle & Dave Smith, 2001. "Discounting for health effects in cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(7), pages 587-599.
  3. Anna Alberini & Maureen Cropper & Alan Krupnick & Nathalie Simon, 2006. "Willingness to pay for mortality risk reductions: Does latency matter?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 231-245, May.
  4. Viscusi, W Kip & Hakes, Jahn K & Carlin, Alan, 1997. "Measures of Mortality Risks," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 213-33, May-June.
  5. Krupnick, Alan & Cropper, Maureen & Alberini, Anna & Simon, Nathalie & Itaoka, Kenshi & Akai, Makoto, 1999. "Mortality Risk Valuation for Environmental Policy," Discussion Papers dp-99-47, Resources For the Future.
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