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The Value of a Statistical Life: Evidence from Panel Data

Listed author(s):
  • Thomas J. Kniesner

    (Center for Policy Research, Syracuse University, and IZA)

  • W. Kip Viscusi

    (Vanderbilt University)

  • Christopher Woock

    (Abbott)

  • James P. Ziliak

    (Center for Poverty Research, University of Kentucky)

We address long-standing concerns in the literature on compensating wage differentials: the econometric properties of the estimated value of statistical life (VSL) and the wide range of such estimates. We confront prominent econometric issues using panel data, a more accurate fatality risk measure, and systematic application of panel data estimators. Controlling for measurement error, endogeneity, latent individual heterogeneity possibly correlated with regressors, state dependence, and sample composition yields VSL estimates of $4 million to $10 million. The comparatively narrow range clarifies the cost-effectiveness of regulatory decisions. Most important econometrically is controlling for latent heterogeneity; less important is how one does it. © 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/REST_a_00229
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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 94 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 74-87

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:94:y:2012:i:1:p:74-87
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  1. 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.
  2. Orley Ashenfelter, 2006. "Measuring the Value of a Statistical Life: Problems and Prospects," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 10-23, 03.
  3. Michael P. Keane, 1993. "Individual Heterogeneity and Interindustry Wage Differentials," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(1), pages 134-161.
  4. Ivar Ekeland & James J. Heckman & Lars Nesheim, 2004. "Identification and Estimation of Hedonic Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 60-109, February.
  5. Mellow, Wesley & Sider, Hal, 1983. "Accuracy of Response in Labor Market Surveys: Evidence and Implications," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 331-344, October.
  6. 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.
  7. W. Kip Viscusi, 2004. "The Value of Life: Estimates with Risks by Occupation and Industry," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(1), pages 29-48, January.
  8. Weiss, Yoram & Lillard, Lee A, 1978. "Experience, Vintage, and Time Effects in the Growth of Earnings: American Scientists, 1960-1970," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 427-447, June.
  9. Hwang, Hae-shin & Reed, W Robert & Hubbard, Carlton, 1992. "Compensating Wage Differentials and Unobserved Productivity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 835-858, August.
  10. Kevin Lang & Sumon Majumdar, 2004. "The Pricing Of Job Characteristics When Markets Do Not Clear: Theory And Policy Implications," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1111-1128, November.
  11. 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.
  12. Hahn, Jinyong & Hausman, Jerry & Kuersteiner, Guido, 2007. "Long difference instrumental variables estimation for dynamic panel models with fixed effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(2), pages 574-617, October.
  13. Spengler, Hannes & Schaffner, Sandra, 2007. "Using Job Changes to Evaluate the Bias of the Value of a Statistical Life," Ruhr Economic Papers 14, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  14. Jason F. Shogren & Tommy Stamland, 2002. "Skill and the Value of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1168-1197, October.
  15. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
  16. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. 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.
  18. James P. Ziliak & Thomas J. Kniesner, 1998. "The Importance of Sample Attrition in Life Cycle Labor Supply Estimation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 507-530.
  19. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-445, March.
  20. Thomas J. Kniesner & John D. Leeth, 2004. "Data Mining Mining Data: MSHA Enforcement Efforts, Underground Coal Mine Safety, and New Health Policy Implications," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 83-111, 09.
  21. Charles Brown, 1980. "Equalizing Differences in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(1), pages 113-134.
  22. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
  23. repec:dau:papers:123456789/6486 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Gary Solon, 1986. "Bias in Longitudinal Estimation of Wage Gaps," NBER Technical Working Papers 0058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. W. Kip Viscusi & Joni Hersch, 2001. "Cigarette Smokers As Job Risk Takers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 269-280, May.
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