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Pinning Down the Value of Statistical Life

Author

Listed:
  • Kniesner, Thomas J.

    (Claremont Graduate University)

  • Viscusi, W. Kip

    (Vanderbilt University)

  • Woock, Christopher

    (The Conference Board)

  • Ziliak, James P.

    (University of Kentucky)

Abstract

Our research addresses fundamental long-standing concerns in the compensating wage differentials literature and its public policy implications: the econometric properties of estimates of the value of statistical life (VSL) and the wide range of such estimates from about $0.5 million to about $21 million. We address most of the prominent econometric issues by applying panel data, a new and more accurate fatality risk measure, and systematic selection of panel estimator in our research. Controlling for measurement error, endogeneity, individual heterogeneity, and state dependence yields both a reasonable average level and narrow range for the estimated value of a statistical life of about $5.5–$7.5 million.

Suggested Citation

  • Kniesner, Thomas J. & Viscusi, W. Kip & Woock, Christopher & Ziliak, James P., 2007. "Pinning Down the Value of Statistical Life," IZA Discussion Papers 3107, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3107
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    Cited by:

    1. Beat Hintermann & Anna Alberini & Anil Markandya, 2010. "Estimating the value of safety with labour market data: are the results trustworthy?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(9), pages 1085-1100.
    2. Schaffner, Sandra & Spengler, Hannes, 2010. "Using job changes to evaluate the bias of value of a statistical life estimates," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 15-27, January.
    3. Jorge Eduardo Martínez Pérez & Ildefonso Méndez Martínez, 2009. "¿Qué podemos saber sobre el Valor Estadístico de la Vida en España utilizando datos laborales?," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 191(4), pages 73-93, December.
    4. Bellavance, Franois & Dionne, Georges & Lebeau, Martin, 2009. "The value of a statistical life: A meta-analysis with a mixed effects regression model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 444-464, March.
    5. Hannes Spengler & Sandra Schaffner, 2007. "Using Job Changes to Evaluate the Bias of the Value of a Statistical Life," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 713, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    6. Henry A. Roman & James K. Hammitt & Tyra L. Walsh & David M. Stieb, 2012. "Expert Elicitation of the Value per Statistical Life in an Air Pollution Context," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 32(12), pages 2133-2151, December.
    7. Kerry Hickson, 2014. "The GDP Value of Twentieth-Century Health Improvements in Developed Economies: Initial Estimates for England," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(2), pages 385-399, June.
    8. Dionne, Georges & Lebeau, Martin, 2010. "Le calcul de la valeur statistique d’une vie humaine," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 86(4), pages 487-530, décembre.
    9. Thomas DeLeire & Shakeeb Khan & Christopher Timmins, 2013. "Roy Model Sorting And Nonrandom Selection In The Valuation Of A Statistical Life," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54(1), pages 279-306, February.
    10. repec:zbw:rwirep:0014 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Naoi, Michio & Seko, Miki & Sumita, Kazuto, 2009. "Earthquake risk and housing prices in Japan: Evidence before and after massive earthquakes," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 658-669, November.
    12. Wehn-Jyuan Tsai & Jin-Tan Liu & James Hammitt, 2011. "Aggregation Biases in Estimates of the Value per Statistical Life: Evidence from Longitudinal Matched Worker-Firm Data in Taiwan," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(3), pages 425-443, July.
    13. Johannesson, M. & Jonsson, B. & Jonsson, L. & Kobelt, G. & Zethraeus, N., 2009. "Why Should Economic Evaluations of Medical Innovations Have a Societal Perspective?," Briefings 000228, Office of Health Economics.
    14. Scotton, Carol R. & Taylor, Laura O., 2011. "Valuing risk reductions: Incorporating risk heterogeneity into a revealed preference framework," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 381-397, May.
    15. Hannes Spengler & Sandra Schaffner, 2007. "Using Job Changes to Evaluate the Bias of the Value of a Statistical Life," Ruhr Economic Papers 0014, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    16. Polachek, Solomon W., 2008. "Earnings Over the Life Cycle: The Mincer Earnings Function and Its Applications," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 4(3), pages 165-272, April.
    17. Goucher, Jeremy & Horrace, William C., 2012. "The value of life: Real risks and safety-related productivity in the Himalaya," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 27-32.
    18. David Powell, 2011. "Heterogeneity in Income Tax Incidence Are the Wages of Dangerous Jobs More Responsive to Tax Changes than the Wages of Safe Jobs?," Working Papers WR-706-1, RAND Corporation.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    random effects; fixed effects; panel data; VSL; PSID;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)

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