Estimating the Value of Safety with Labor Market Data: Are the Results Trustworthy?
We use a panel dataset of UK workers to look for evidence of compensating wage differentials for workplace risk. Risk data are available at the four-digit industry level or at the three-digit occupation level. We discuss various econometric problems associated with the hedonic wage approach, namely measurement error, instability of the estimates to specification changes, and endogeneity. We find that if we assume a classical measurement error, the true risk signal would be completely drowned out in our data, which would imply a severe downward bias of the OLS coefficient on risk. But this prediction is at odds with our OLS estimates of the VSL, which are large, especially for blue collar workers. Further, the coefficient on risk changes varies dramatically with the inclusion or exclusion of industry and/or occupation dummies, as well as with the addition of nonfatal risk. When we instrument for risk, which we treat as endogenous with wage, and apply 2SLS or a procedure suggested by Garen (1988), we find negative associations between risk and wages for all workers, which is against the notion of compensating wage differentials, or, for blue-collar workers, extremely large VSL figures. Finally, we exploit the panel nature of our data to apply various estimation procedures (the “within” estimator, GLS and the Hausman-Taylor procedure) that correct for unobserved heterogeneity and endogeneity. The coefficient on risk is usually negative and insignificant for the sample of all workers, which once again questions the notion of compensating wage differentials. For blue-collar workers we obtain reasonable VSLs, but the association between risk and wages is not statistically significant. We conclude that if compensating differentials for risk exist, measurement error, other econometric problems, and the changing nature of labor markets prevent us from observing them. We also conclude that models and techniques for panel data that account for unobserved heterogeneity and endogeneity seem more reliable than the techniques typically employed with cross-sectional data.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Corso Magenta, 63 - 20123 Milan|
Web page: http://www.feem.it/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Hausman, Jerry A. & Taylor, William E., 1981.
"Panel data and unobservable individual effects,"
Journal of Econometrics,
Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 155-155, May.
- A. Marin & G.R. Arabsheibani, 1998.
"Stability of Estimates of the Compensation for Danger,"
Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics
98/15, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Feb 1998.
- Arabsheibani, G R & Marin, A, 2000. "Stability of Estimates of the Compensation for Danger," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 247-69, May.
- G. Arabsheibani & A. Marin, 2000. "Stability of Estimates of the Compensation for Danger," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 247-269, May.
- 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 205-20, December.
- Dan A. Black & Thomas K. Kniesner, 2003. "On the Measurement of Job Risk in Hedonic Wage Models," NCEE Working Paper Series 200306, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Aug 2003.
- Dan A. Black & Thomas J. Kniesner, 2003. "On the Measurement of Job Risk in Hedonic Wage Models," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 49, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
- Gegax, Douglas & Gerking, Shelby & Schulze, William, 1991. "Perceived Risk and the Marginal Value of Safety," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 589-96, November.
- Siebert, W Stanley & Wei, X, 1994. "Compensating Wage Differentials for Workplace Accidents: Evidence for Union and Nonunion Workers in the UK," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 61-76, July.
- Garen, John, 1984. "The Returns to Schooling: A Selectivity Bias Approach with a Continuous Choice Variable," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1199-1218, September.
- Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
- 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.
- 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.
- W. Kip Viscusi & Joseph E. Aldy, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," NBER Working Papers 9487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sandy, Robert & Elliott, Robert F, 1996. "Unions and Risk: Their Impact on the Level of Compensation for Fatal Risk," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages 291-309, May.
- G. R. Arabsheibani & A. Marin, 2001. "Self-selectivity bias with a continuous variable: potential pitfall in a common procedure," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(15), pages 1903-1910.
- 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 331-44, October.
- Biddle, Jeff E & Zarkin, Gary A, 1988. "Worker Preferences and Market Compensation for Job Risk," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(4), pages 660-67, November.
- Lanoie, Paul & Pedro, Carmen & Latour, Robert, 1995. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Comparison of Two Approaches," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 235-57, May.
- repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
- Sandy, Robert & R. F. Elliot & W. S. Siebert & X. D. Wei, 2001. "Measurement Error and the Effects of Unions on the Compensating Differentials for Fatal Workplace Risks," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 33-56, July.
- Bound, John & Brown, Charles & Mathiowetz, Nancy, 2001. "Measurement error in survey data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 59, pages 3705-3843 Elsevier.
- Garen, John, 1988. "Compensating Wage Differentials and the Endogeneity of Job Riskiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 9-16, February.
- Andrea Baranzini & Giovanni Ferro Luzzi, 2001. "The Economic Value of Risks to Life: Evidence from the Swiss Labour Market," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 137(II), pages 149-170, June.
- Leigh J. Paul, 1995. "Compensating Wages, Value of a Statistical Life, and Inter-industry Differentials," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 83-97, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2006.119. 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: (barbara racah)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.