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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. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2002. "Changes in the Value of Life: 1940-1980," NBER Working Papers 9396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dan A. Black & Thomas K. Kniesner, 2003. "On the Measurement of Job Risk in Hedonic Wage Models," NCEE Working Paper Series 200306, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Aug 2003.
  3. 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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  5. Chris Rohlfs & Ryan Sullivan & Thomas Kniesner, 2015. "New Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life Using Air Bag Regulations as a Quasi-experiment," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 331-59, February.
  6. Dreyfus, Mark K & Viscusi, W Kip, 1995. "Rates of Time Preference and Consumer Valuations of Automobile Safety and Fuel Efficiency," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 79-105, April.
  7. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2004. "Estimating the Value of a Statistical Life: The Importance of Omitted Variables and Publication Bias," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 454-460, May.
  8. Kip Viscusi, W. & Aldy, Joseph E., 2007. "Labor market estimates of the senior discount for the value of statistical life," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 377-392, May.
  9. 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.
  10. 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).
  11. 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.
  12. 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..
  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. 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.
  15. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2002. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," NBER Working Papers 9094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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  24. 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.
  25. Aldy, Joseph E. & Viscusi, W. Kip, 2007. "Age Differences in the Value of Statistical Life: Revealed Preference Evidence," Discussion Papers dp-07-05, Resources For the Future.
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  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
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