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Willingness to Accept Equals Willingness to Pay for Labor Market Estimates of the Value of Statistical Life

  • Kniesner, Thomas J.

    ()

    (Syracuse University)

  • Viscusi, W. Kip

    ()

    (Vanderbilt University)

  • Ziliak, James P.

    ()

    (University of Kentucky)

Our research clarifies the conceptual linkages among willingness to pay for additional safety, willingness to accept less safety, and the value of statistical life (VSL). We present econometric estimates that in the important case of workers' decisions concerning exposure to fatal injury risk there is no statistically significant divergence between willingness to accept and willingness to pay. Our focal result contrasts with the literature documenting a considerable asymmetry in tradeoff rates for increases and decreases in risk. An important implication for policy is that it is reasonable to use labor market estimates of VSL as a measure of the willingness to pay for additional safety.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp6816.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6816.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 2014, 48 (3), 187-205
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6816
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  1. Susan Chilton & Michael Jones-Lee & Rebecca McDonald & Hugh Metcalf, 2012. "Does the WTA/WTP ratio diminish as the severity of a health complaint is reduced? Testing for smoothness of the underlying utility of wealth function," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 1-24, August.
  2. W. Viscusi & Joel Huber, 2012. "Reference-dependent valuations of risk: Why willingness-to-accept exceeds willingness-to-pay," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 19-44, February.
  3. 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.
  4. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1999. "The Art of Labormetrics," NBER Working Papers 6927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Altonji, Joseph G & Paxson, Christina H, 1988. "Labor Supply Preferences, Hours Constraints, and Hours-Wage Trade-Offs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 254-76, April.
  7. Jushan Bai, 2009. "Panel Data Models With Interactive Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1229-1279, 07.
  8. John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  12. Ernesto Villanueva, 2007. "Estimating Compensating Wage Differentials Using Voluntary Job Changes: Evidence from Germany," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(4), pages 544-561, July.
  13. Thomas J. Kniesner & W. Kip Viscusi & Christopher Woock & James P. Ziliak, 2010. "The Value of a Statistical Life: Evidence from Panel Data," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 122, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  14. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2004. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0407001, EconWPA.
  15. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
  16. Gary Solon, 1986. "Bias in Longitudinal Estimation of Wage Gaps," NBER Technical Working Papers 0058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Horowitz, John K. & McConnell, Kenneth E., 2002. "A Review of WTA/WTP Studies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 426-447, November.
  18. W. Kip Viscusi & Wesley A. Magat & Joel Huber, 1987. "An Investigation of the Rationality of Consumer Valuations of Multiple Health Risks," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(4), pages 465-479, Winter.
  19. Brown, Charles, 1980. "Equalizing Differences in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 113-34, February.
  20. Knetsch Jack L. & Riyanto Yohanes E. & Zong Jichuan, 2012. "Gain and Loss Domains and the Choice of Welfare Measure of Positive and Negative Changes," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 3(4), pages 1-20, December.
  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.
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