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Pinning Down the Value of Statistical Life

  • Kniesner, Thomas J.

    ()

    (Syracuse University)

  • Viscusi, W. Kip

    ()

    (Vanderbilt University)

  • Woock, Christopher

    ()

    (The Conference Board)

  • Ziliak, James P.

    ()

    (University of Kentucky)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3107.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 2012, 94 (1) , 74-87
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3107
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  1. Orley Ashenfelter, 2006. "Measuring the Value of a Statistical Life: Problems and Prospects," NBER Working Papers 11916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Brown, Charles, 1980. "Equalizing Differences in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 113-34, February.
  3. 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.
  4. Ivar Ekeland & James J. Heckman & Lars P. Nesheim, 2003. "Identification and Estimation of Hedonic Models," NBER Working Papers 9910, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2004. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S226-S267, February.
  6. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2004. "Estimating the Value of a Statistical Life: The Importance of Omitted Variables and Publication Bias," NBER Working Papers 10401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  8. Kniesner Thomas J & Viscusi W. Kip & Ziliak James P, 2006. "Life-Cycle Consumption and the Age-Adjusted Value of Life," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-36, January.
  9. Hwang, Hae-shin & Reed, W Robert & Hubbard, Carlton, 1992. "Compensating Wage Differentials and Unobserved Productivity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 835-58, August.
  10. Lillard, Lee A & Weiss, Yoram, 1979. "Components of Variation in Panel Earnings Data: American Scientists, 1960-70," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 437-54, March.
  11. Arellano, M., 1989. "A Note On The Anderson-Hsiao Estimator For Panel Data," Economics Series Working Papers 9975, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. W. Kip Viscusi & Joni Hersch, 2001. "Cigarette Smokers As Job Risk Takers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 269-280, May.
  16. Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Errors in Variables in Panel Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. Michael P. Keane, 1991. "Individual heterogeneity and interindustry wage differentials," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 54, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. 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.
  20. Kevin Lang & Sumon Majumdar, 2004. "The Pricing Of Job Characteristics When Markets Do Not Clear: Theory And Policy Implications," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1111-1128, November.
  21. W. Kip Viscusi, 2004. "The Value of Life: Estimates with Risks by Occupation and Industry," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(1), pages 29-48, January.
  22. James P. Ziliak & Thomas J. Kniesner, 1998. "The Importance of Sample Attrition in Life Cycle Labor Supply Estimation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 507-530.
  23. Gary Solon, 1986. "Bias in Longitudinal Estimation of Wage Gaps," NBER Technical Working Papers 0058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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