IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_2291.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Value of a Statistical Life under Ambiguity Aversion

Author

Listed:
  • Nicolas Treich

Abstract

We show that ambiguity aversion increases the value of a statistical life as soon as the marginal utility of wealth is higher if alive than dead. The intuition is that ambiguity aversion has a similar effect as an increase in the perceived baseline mortality risk, and thus operates as the “dead anyway” effect. We suggest, however, that ambiguity aversion should usually have a modest effect on the prevention of ambiguous mortality risks within benefit-cost analysis, and can hardly justify the substantial “ambiguity premium” apparently embodied in environmental policy-making.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Treich, 2008. "The Value of a Statistical Life under Ambiguity Aversion," CESifo Working Paper Series 2291, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2291
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp2291.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chateauneuf, Alain & Cohen, Michele & Meilijson, Isaac, 2004. "Four notions of mean-preserving increase in risk, risk attitudes and applications to the rank-dependent expected utility model," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 547-571, August.
    2. Henrik Andersson & Nicolas Treich, 2011. "The Value of a Statistical Life," Chapters, in: André de Palma & Robin Lindsey & Emile Quinet & Roger Vickerman (ed.), A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 17, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
    4. Eeckhoudt, Louis R. & Hammitt, James K., 2004. "Does risk aversion increase the value of mortality risk?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 13-29, January.
    5. Zengjing Chen & Larry Epstein, 2002. "Ambiguity, Risk, and Asset Returns in Continuous Time," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1403-1443, July.
    6. Segal, Uzi, 1987. "The Ellsberg Paradox and Risk Aversion: An Anticipated Utility Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(1), pages 175-202, February.
    7. Stern,Nicholas, 2007. "The Economics of Climate Change," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521700801, May.
    8. Karni, Edi & Safra, Zvi, 1990. "Rank-Dependent Probabilities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 487-495, June.
    9. Sunstein,Cass R., 2002. "Risk and Reason," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521791991, May.
    10. Chambers, Robert G. & Melkonyan, Tigran A., 2007. "AJAE Appendix: Pareto Optimal Trade in an Uncertain World: GMOs and the Precautionary Principle," American Journal of Agricultural Economics APPENDICES, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(2), pages 1-5, May.
    11. Han Bleichrodt & Louis Eeckhoudt, 2006. "Willingness to pay for reductions in health risks when probabilities are distorted," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(2), pages 211-214, February.
    12. Georges Dionne & Paul Lanoie, 2004. "Public Choice about the Value of a Statistical Life for Cost-Benefit Analyses: The Case of Road Safety," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 38(2), pages 247-274, May.
    13. Gajdos, T. & Hayashi, T. & Tallon, J.-M. & Vergnaud, J.-C., 2008. "Attitude toward imprecise information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 27-65, May.
    14. Viscusi, W Kip, 1997. "Alarmist Decisions with Divergent Risk Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1657-1670, November.
    15. Daniel Ellsberg, 2000. "Risk, Ambiguity and the Savage Axioms," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7605, David K. Levine.
    16. Robert G. Chambers & Tigran A. Melkonyan, 2007. "Pareto Optimal Trade in an Uncertain World: GMOs and the Precautionary Principle," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 89(2), pages 520-532.
    17. Nengjiu Ju & Jianjun Miao, 2012. "Ambiguity, Learning, and Asset Returns," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(2), pages 559-591, March.
    18. Epstein, Larry G. & Schneider, Martin, 2003. "Recursive multiple-priors," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 1-31, November.
    19. Shogren, Jason F. & Crocker, Thomas D., 1991. "Risk, self-protection, and ex ante economic value," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-15, January.
    20. Robert F. Nau, 2006. "Uncertainty Aversion with Second-Order Utilities and Probabilities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(1), pages 136-145, January.
    21. 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.
    22. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
    23. Viscusi, W Kip & Evans, William N, 1990. "Utility Functions That Depend on Health Status: Estimates and Economic Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 353-374, June.
    24. Karni, Edi, 1983. "Risk Aversion for State-Dependent Utility Functions: Measurement and Applications," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(3), pages 637-647, October.
    25. Ghirardato, Paolo & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2004. "Differentiating ambiguity and ambiguity attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 133-173, October.
    26. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
    27. James Hammitt & Nicolas Treich, 2007. "Statistical vs. identified lives in benefit-cost analysis," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 45-66, August.
    28. Persson, Ulf & Norinder, Anna & Hjalte, Krister & Gralén, Katarina, 2001. "The Value of a Statistical Life in Transport: Findings from a New Contingent Valuation Study in Sweden," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 121-134, September.
    29. John Weicher, 1996. "The Distribution of Wealth," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 650823, September.
    30. Gilboa, Itzhak, 1987. "Expected utility with purely subjective non-additive probabilities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 65-88, February.
    31. James T. Hamilton & W. Kip Viscusi, 1999. "Are Risk Regulators Rational? Evidence from Hazardous Waste Cleanup Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 1010-1027, September.
    32. Di Mauro, Carmela & Maffioletti, Anna, 1996. "An Experimental Investigation of the Impact of Ambiguity on the Valuation of Self-Insurance and Self-Protection," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 53-71, July.
    33. Jones-Lee, Michael W, 1974. "The Value of Changes in the Probability of Death or Injury," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 835-849, July/Aug..
    34. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2005. "A Smooth Model of Decision Making under Ambiguity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1849-1892, November.
    35. Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Aldo Rustichini, 2006. "Ambiguity Aversion, Robustness, and the Variational Representation of Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1447-1498, November.
    36. Milton C. Weinstein & Donald S. Shepard & Joseph S. Pliskin, 1980. "The Economic Value of Changing Mortality Probabilities: A Decision-Theoretic Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(2), pages 373-396.
    37. repec:reg:rpubli:292 is not listed on IDEAS
    38. Peter Klibanoff, 2001. "Characterizing uncertainty aversion through preference for mixtures," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 18(2), pages 289-301.
    39. Yoram Halevy, 2007. "Ellsberg Revisited: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 503-536, March.
    40. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-587, May.
    41. Andreas Lange, 2003. "Climate Change and the Irreversibility Effect – Combining Expected Utility and MaxiMin," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 25(4), pages 417-434, August.
    42. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
    43. Mary Riddel & W. Shaw, 2006. "A theoretically-consistent empirical model of non-expected utility: An application to nuclear-waste transport," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 131-150, March.
    44. Friedrich Breyer & Stefan Felder, 2005. "Mortality Risk and the Value of a Statistical Life: The Dead-Anyway Effect Revis(it)ed," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 30(1), pages 41-55, June.
    45. Sunstein, Cass R, 2000. "Cognition and Cost-Benefit Analysis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 1059-1103, June.
    46. W. Viscusi & Harrell Chesson, 1999. "Hopes and Fears: the Conflicting Effects of Risk Ambiguity," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 157-184, October.
    47. Kreps, David M & Porteus, Evan L, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 185-200, January.
    48. Pratt, John W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1996. "Willingness to Pay and the Distribution of Risk and Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 747-763, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Treich, Nicolas, 2010. "The value of a statistical life under ambiguity aversion," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 15-26, January.
    2. Karni, Edi & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2015. "Ambiguity and Nonexpected Utility," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications,, Elsevier.
    3. Henrik Andersson & Nicolas Treich, 2011. "The Value of a Statistical Life," Chapters, in: André de Palma & Robin Lindsey & Emile Quinet & Roger Vickerman (ed.), A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 17, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Dillenberger, David & Segal, Uzi, 2017. "Skewed noise," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 344-364.
    5. Izhakian, Yehuda, 2017. "Expected utility with uncertain probabilities theory," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 91-103.
    6. Yehuda Izhakian & Zur Izhakian, 2015. "Decision making in phantom spaces," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 58(1), pages 59-98, January.
    7. Jewitt, Ian & Mukerji, Sujoy, 2017. "Ordering ambiguous acts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 213-267.
    8. Nengjiu Ju & Jianjun Miao, 2012. "Ambiguity, Learning, and Asset Returns," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(2), pages 559-591, March.
    9. Shaw, W. Douglass & Woodward, Richard T., 2008. "Why environmental and resource economists should care about non-expected utility models," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 66-89, January.
    10. Amit Kothiyal & Vitalie Spinu & Peter Wakker, 2014. "An experimental test of prospect theory for predicting choice under ambiguity," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 1-17, February.
    11. Hui Chen & Nengjiu Ju & Jianjun Miao, 2014. "Dynamic Asset Allocation with Ambiguous Return Predictability," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 799-823, October.
    12. Zvi Safra & Uzi Segal, 2005. "Are Universal Preferences Possible? Calibration Results for Non-Expected Utility Theories," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 633, Boston College Department of Economics.
    13. Massimo Guidolin & Francesca Rinaldi, 2013. "Ambiguity in asset pricing and portfolio choice: a review of the literature," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 74(2), pages 183-217, February.
    14. Klibanoff, Peter & Marinacci, Massimo & Mukerji, Sujoy, 2009. "Recursive smooth ambiguity preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 930-976, May.
    15. Henrik Andersson, 2008. "Willingness to Pay for Car Safety: Evidence from Sweden," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 41(4), pages 579-594, December.
    16. James K. Hammitt, 2020. "Valuing mortality risk in the time of COVID-19," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 61(2), pages 129-154, October.
    17. Christian Gollier & James Hammitt & Nicolas Treich, 2013. "Risk and choice: A research saga," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 129-145, October.
    18. Anna Conte & John D. Hey, 2018. "Assessing multiple prior models of behaviour under ambiguity," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Experiments in Economics Decision Making and Markets, chapter 7, pages 169-188, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    19. David Ahn & Syngjoo Choi & Douglas Gale & Shachar Kariv, 2014. "Estimating ambiguity aversion in a portfolio choice experiment," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5, pages 195-223, July.
    20. Ilke Aydogan & Loic Berger & Valentina Bosetti & Ning Liu, 2018. "Three layers of uncertainty: an experiment," Working Papers 623, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ambiguity; value-of-a-statistical-life; uncertainty; risk-aversion; willingness-to-pay; benefit-cost analysis; environmental risk; health policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    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:ces:ceswps:_2291. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Klaus Wohlrabe (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    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.