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The Value of a Statistical Life: a Meta-Analysis with a Mixed Effects Regression Model

Author

Listed:
  • François Bellavance
  • Georges Dionne
  • Martin Lebeau

Abstract

The value of a statistical life (VSL) is a very controversial topic, but one which is essential to the optimization of governmental decisions. Indeed, our society faces any number of risks (health, transportation, work, etc.) and, as resources are limited, their complete elimination is impossible. The role of governments is to act as effectively as possible in reducing these risks. To do so, one must first determine the value that society is willing to pay in order to save a human life. However, we see a great variability in the values obtained from different studies. The source of this variability needs to be understood, in order to offer public decision-makers better guidance in choosing a value and to set clearer guidelines for future research on the topic. This article presents a meta-analysis based on 40 observations obtained from 37 studies (from nine different countries) which all use a hedonic wage method to calculate the VSL. Our meta-analysis is innovative in that it is the first to use the mixed effects regression model (Raudenbush, 1994) to analyze studies on the value of a statistical life. The outcome of our meta-analysis allows us to conclude that the variability found in the results studied stems in large part from differences in methodologies.

Suggested Citation

  • François Bellavance & Georges Dionne & Martin Lebeau, 2006. "The Value of a Statistical Life: a Meta-Analysis with a Mixed Effects Regression Model," Cahiers de recherche 0646, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0646
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Value of a statistical life; meta-analysis; mixed effects regression model; hedonic wage method; risk;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J58 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Public Policy

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