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On the Definition and Age-Dependency of the Value of a Statistical Life. A Review and Extension

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  • Johansson, Per-Olov

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

The value of preventing a fatality or (saving) a statistical life is an important question in health economics as well as environmental economics. This paper reviews and adds new insights to several of the issues discussed in the literature. For example, how do we define the value of a (statistical) life? Are there really strong theoretical reasons for believing that the value of a life declines with age? The paper derives definitions of the value of a statistical life in both single-period models and life-cycle models. Models with and without actuarially fair annuities are examined, as well as the age-profile of the value of a statistical life.

Suggested Citation

  • Johansson, Per-Olov, 2002. "On the Definition and Age-Dependency of the Value of a Statistical Life. A Review and Extension," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 490, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 29 Jan 2002.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0490
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    File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/hastef/papers/hastef0490.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Arthur, W B, 1981. "The Economics of Risks to Life," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 54-64, March.
    2. Meltzer, David, 1997. "Accounting for future costs in medical cost-effectiveness analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 33-64, February.
    3. Johansson, Per-Olov, 2001. "Is there a meaningful definition of the value of a statistical life?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 131-139, January.
    4. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-247, April.
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    6. LaFrance, Jeffrey T. & Barney, L. Dwayne, 1991. "The envelope theorem in dynamic optimization," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 355-385, April.
    7. Rosen, Sherwin, 1988. "The Value of Changes in Life Expectancy," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 285-304, September.
    8. Caputo, Michael R., 1990. "How to do comparative dynamics on the back of an envelope in optimal control theory," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 655-683, October.
    9. Blomqvist, Ake, 2002. "Defining the value of a statistical life: a comment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 169-175, January.
    10. Chang, Fwu-Ranq, 1991. "Uncertain Lifetimes, Retirement and Economic Welfare," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(230), pages 215-232, May.
    11. Jones-Lee, M W, 1991. "Altruism and the Value of Other People's Safety," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 213-219, April.
    12. Donald S. Shepard & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1984. "Survival versus Consumption," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(4), pages 423-439, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rheinberger, Christoph M. & Hammitt, James K., 2014. "The welfare value of FDA's mercury-in-fish advisory: A dynamic reanalysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 113-122.
    2. Henrik Andersson & Nicolas Treich, 2011. "The Value of a Statistical Life," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 17 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Joseph E. Aldy & Seamus J. Smyth, 2014. "Heterogeneity in the Value of Life," NBER Working Papers 20206, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Henrik Andersson & Nicolas Treich, 2011. "The Value of a Statistical Life," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 17 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Kuhn, Michael & Frankovic, Ivan & Wrzaczek, Stefan, 2017. "Medical Progress, Demand for Health Care, and Economic Performance," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168249, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Antoine Bommier & François Grand, 2014. "Too risk averse to purchase insurance?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 135-166, April.
    7. Hammitt, James & Roman, Henry & Stieb, David & Walsh, Tyra, 2012. "Expert Elicitation of the Value per Statistical Life in an Air Pollution Context," LERNA Working Papers 12.10.367, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
    8. Kuhn, Michael & Wrzaczek, Stefan & Prskawetz, Alexia & Feichtinger, Gustav, 2015. "Optimal choice of health and retirement in a life-cycle model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 158(PA), pages 186-212.
    9. Jaldell Henrik, 2013. "Cost-benefit analyses of sprinklers in nursing homes for elderly," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 209-235, August.
    10. Evans, Mary F. & Smith, V. Kerry, 2006. "Do we really understand the age-VSL relationship?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 242-261, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Value of a statistical life; value of preventing a fatality; age-specific values; willingness to pay;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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