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On the definition and estimation of the value of a ?statistical life?

  • Per-Olov JOHANSSON


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    The presentation will discuss the economic meaning of the concept of the Value of a Statistical Life (VSL) and review some of its properties. In particular, the age pattern of the VSL is considered. The presentation will also review recent estimates of the magnitude of a VSL taken from different countries and cultures. The value of preventing a fatality or (saving) a statistical life is an important question in health economics as well as environmental economics. This paper reviews several of the issues discussed in the literature. For example, how do we define the value of a (statistical) life? Are there really strong theoretical reasons for believing that the value of a life declines with age? The paper derives definitions of the value of a statistical life in both single-period models and life-cycle models. Models with and without actuarially fair annuities are examined, as well as the age-profile of the value of a statistical life

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    Paper provided by Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2006-23.

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    Date of creation: 13 Oct 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2006-23
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    1. Johansson, Per-Olov, 2001. "Is there a meaningful definition of the value of a statistical life?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 131-139, January.
    2. Meltzer, David, 1997. "Accounting for future costs in medical cost-effectiveness analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 33-64, February.
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    4. LaFrance, Jeffrey T. & Barney, L. Dwayne, 1991. "The envelope theorem in dynamic optimization," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 355-385, April.
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    7. 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.
    8. Leung, S.F., 1992. "Uncertain Lifetime, the Theory of the Consumer, and the Life Cycle Hypothesis," RCER Working Papers 323, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    9. Sherwin Rosen, . "The Value of Changes in Life Expectancy," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 87-14, Chicago - Population Research Center.
    10. Blomqvist, Ake, 2002. "Defining the value of a statistical life: a comment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 169-175, January.
    11. Chang, Fwu-Ranq, 1991. "Uncertain Lifetimes, Retirement and Economic Welfare," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(230), pages 215-32, May.
    12. Cairns, John, 2006. "Developments in discounting: With special reference to future health events," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 282-297, August.
    13. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1984. "Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons," NBER Working Papers 1389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. 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.
    15. Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov & Löfgren, Karl-Gustaf, 1997. "On the Value of Changes in Life Expectancy: Blips versus Parametric Changes," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 152, Stockholm School of Economics.
    16. Jones-Lee, M W & Hammerton, M & Philips, P R, 1985. "The Value of Safety: Results of a National Sample Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(377), pages 49-72, March.
    17. Jones-Lee, Michael W, 1974. "The Value of Changes in the Probability of Death or Injury," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 835-49, July/Aug..
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