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New Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life Using Air Bag Regulations as a Quasi-Experiment

  • Rohlfs, Chris

    ()

    (Morgan Stanley)

  • Sullivan, Ryan

    ()

    (Naval Postgraduate School)

  • Kniesner, Thomas J.

    ()

    (Claremont Graduate University)

Due to Federal regulations, automobile air bag availability was a model-specific discontinuous function of model year for used vehicles in the 1990s and early 2000s. We use these discontinuities and the gradual increase in the supply of air bags to trace out the demand curve for air bags and the implied distribution of the Value of a Statistical Life (VSL) across consumers. While imprecise, our preferred point estimates indicate that the median VSL is between $7 million and $13 million, but that a sizable portion of consumers placed negative values on air bags, probably due to distrust of the technology.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6994.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2015, 7(1), 331-354
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6994
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  1. James M. Sallee, 2011. "The Surprising Incidence of Tax Credits for the Toyota Prius," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 189-219, May.
  2. Rohlfs, Chris & Sullivan, Ryan & Kniesner, Thomas J., 2012. "New Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life Using Air Bag Regulations as a Quasi-Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6994, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Viscusi, W. Kip & Aldy, Joseph, 2006. "Labor Market Estimates of the Senior Discount for the Value of Statistical Life," Discussion Papers dp-06-12, Resources For the Future.
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  6. W. Kip Viscusi, 1996. "Economic Foundations of the Current Regulatory Reform Efforts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 119-134, Summer.
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  8. 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.
  9. Orley Ashenfelter, 2006. "Measuring the Value of a Statistical Life: Problems and Prospects," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages C10-C23, 03.
  10. Viscusi, W Kip, 2003. "Racial Differences in Labor Market Values of a Statistical Life," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 239-56, December.
  11. 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.
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  13. Atkinson, Scott E & Halvorsen, Robert, 1990. "The Valuation of Risks to Life: Evidence from the Market for Automobiles," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(1), pages 133-36, February.
  14. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2004. "Changes in the Value of Life, 1940--1980," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 159-180, 09.
  15. Leeth, John D & Ruser, John, 2003. "Compensating Wage Differentials for Fatal and Nonfatal Injury Risk by Gender and Race," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 257-77, December.
  16. V. Kerry Smith & Mary F. Evans & Hyun Kim & Donald H. Taylor, 2004. "Do the Near-Elderly Value Mortality Risks Differently?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 423-429, February.
  17. Ashenfelter, Orley & Greenstone, Michael, 2002. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," IZA Discussion Papers 571, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. 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.
  19. Corso, Phaedra S & Hammitt, James K & Graham, John D, 2001. "Valuing Mortality-Risk Reduction: Using Visual Aids to Improve the Validity of Contingent Valuation," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 165-84, September.
  20. Viscusi, W Kip, 1993. "The Value of Risks to Life and Health," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1912-46, December.
  21. Rohlfs Chris, 2012. "The Economic Cost of Conscription and an Upper Bound on the Value of a Statistical Life: Hedonic Estimates from Two Margins of Response to the Vietnam Draft," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 3(3), pages 1-37, August.
  22. Bartik, Timothy J, 1987. "The Estimation of Demand Parameters in Hedonic Price Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 81-88, February.
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  24. Rohlfs, Chris & Sullivan, Ryan & Kniesner, Thomas J., 2013. "Hedonic Estimation under Very General Conditions Using Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs," IZA Discussion Papers 7554, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Georges Dionne & Paul Lanoie, 2004. "Public Choice about the Value of a Statistical Life for Cost-Benefit Analyses: The Case of Road Safety," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 38(2), pages 247-274, May.
  26. 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.
  27. Kurt E. Schnier & William C. Horrace & Ronald G. Felthoven, 2009. "The Value of Statistical Life: Pursuing the Deadliest Catch," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 117, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  28. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2004. "Estimating the Value of a Statistical Life: The Importance of Omitted Variables and Publication Bias," Working Papers 858, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  29. 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.
  30. Rohlfs, Chris, 2012. "The Economic Cost of Conscription and an Upper Bound on the Value of a Statistical Life: Hedonic Estimates from Two Margins of Response to the Vietnam Draft," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(03), pages 1-37, August.
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