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Risk Aversion and the Value of Risk to Life

The standard literature on the value of life relies on Yaari’s (1965) model, which includes an implicit assumption of risk neutrality with respect to life duration. To overpass this limitation, we extend the theory to a simple variety of preferences which are not necessarily additively separable. The enlargement we propose is relevant for the evaluation of life-saving programs: current practice, we estimate, puts too little weight on mortality risk reduction of the young. Our correction exceeds in magnitude that introduced by the switch from the notion of number of lives saved to the notion of years of life saved.

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Paper provided by CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich in its series CER-ETH Economics working paper series with number 10/133.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:10-133
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