Valuing life: experimental evidence using sensitivity to rare events
Global environmental phenomena like climate change, major extinction events or flutype pandemics can have catastrophic consequences. By properly assessing the outcomes involved - especially those concerning human life - economic theory of choice under uncertainty is expected to help people take the best decision. However, the widely used expected utility theory values life in terms of the low probability of death someone would be willing to accept in order to receive extra payment. Common sense and experimental evidence refute this way of valuing life, and here we provide experimental evidence of people's unwillingness to accept a low probability of death, contrary to expected utility predictions. This work uses new axioms of choice, especially an axiom that allows extreme responses to extreme events, and the choice criterion that they imply. The implied decision criteria are a combination of expected utility with extreme responses, and seem more consistent with observations.
|Date of creation:||13 Dec 2011|
|Note:||View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00651163|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/|
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Buchholz, Wolfgang & Schymura, Michael, 2012.
"Expected utility theory and the tyranny of catastrophic risks,"
Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 234-239.
- Buchholz, Wolfgang & Schymura, Michael, 2010. "Expected Utility theory and the tyranny of catastrophic risks," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-059, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
- Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Monetary Rewards and Decision Cost in Experimental Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 245-261, April.
- 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.
- Kip Smith & John Dickhaut & Kevin McCabe & José V. Pardo, 2002. "Neuronal Substrates for Choice Under Ambiguity, Risk, Gains, and Losses," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(6), pages 711-718, June.
- Janusz R. Mrozek & Laura O. Taylor, 2002. "What determines the value of life? a meta-analysis," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(2), pages 253-270.
- Masako Ikefuji & Roger Laeven & Jan Magnus & Chris Muris, 2014. "Expected Utility and Catastrophic Risk," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-133/III, Tinbergen Institute.
- Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
- Camerer, Colin F. & Hogarth, Robin M., 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Working Papers 1059, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Viscusi, W Kip, 1993. "The Value of Risks to Life and Health," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1912-1946, December.
- Knutson, Brian & Peterson, Richard, 2005. "Neurally reconstructing expected utility," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 305-315, August.
- Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
- Loewenstein, George, 1999. "Experimental Economics from the Vantage-Point of Behavioural Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages 23-34, February.
- Ikefuji, M. & Laeven, R.J.A. & Magnus, J.R. & Muris, C.H.M., 2010. "Expected Utility and Catastrophic Risk in a Stochastic Economy-Climate Model," Discussion Paper 2010-122, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Millner, Antony, 2013. "On welfare frameworks and catastrophic climate risks," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 310-325.
- Rosen, Sherwin, 1988. "The Value of Changes in Life Expectancy," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 285-304, September.
- Sherwin Rosen, "undated". "The Value of Changes in Life Expectancy," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 87-14, Chicago - Population Research Center.
- Graciela Chichilnisky, 2009. "Catastrophic risks," International Journal of Green Economics, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 3(2), pages 130-141.
- Chichilnisky, Graciela, 2000. "An axiomatic approach to choice under uncertainty with catastrophic risks," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 221-231, July.
- repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
- Martin L. Weitzman, 2009. "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-19, February.
- Weitzman, Martin L., 2009. "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," Scholarly Articles 3693423, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Sunstein, Cass R, 2003. "Terrorism and Probability Neglect," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 26(2-3), pages 121-136, March-May.
- Harrison, Glenn W, 1994. "Expected Utility Theory and the Experimentalists," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 223-253.
- Chichilnisky, Graciela, 2009. "The topology of fear," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(12), pages 807-816, December.
- Cass Sunstein & Richard Zeckhauser, 2011. "Overreaction to Fearsome Risks," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 435-449, March.
- Zeckhauser, Richard, 2008. "Overreaction to Fearsome Risks," Working Paper Series rwp08-079, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Olivier Chanel & Graciela Chichilnisky, 2009. "The influence of fear in decisions: Experimental evidence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 271-298, December.
- Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-279, May.
- Martin L. Weitzman, 2011. "Fat-Tailed Uncertainty in the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(2), pages 275-292, Summer.
- Daniel Ellsberg, 1961. "Risk, Ambiguity, and the Savage Axioms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 643-669. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00651163. 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: (CCSD)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.