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How Unobservable Productivity Biases the Value of a Statistical Life

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas J. Kniesner
  • W. Kip Viscusi
  • Christopher Woock
  • James P. Ziliak

Abstract

A prominent theoretical controversy in the compensating differentials literature concerns unobservable individual productivity. Competing models yield opposite predictions depending on whether the unobservable productivity is safety-related skill or productivity generally. Using five panel waves and several new measures of worker fatality risks, first-difference estimates imply that omitting individual heterogeneity leads to overestimates of the value of statistical life, consistent with the latent safety-related skill interpretation. Risk measures with less measurement error raise the value of statistical life, the net effect being that estimates from the static model range from $5.3 million to $6.7 million, with dynamic model estimates somewhat higher.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Kniesner & W. Kip Viscusi & Christopher Woock & James P. Ziliak, 2005. "How Unobservable Productivity Biases the Value of a Statistical Life," NBER Working Papers 11659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11659
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ivar Ekeland & James J. Heckman & Lars Nesheim, 2004. "Identification and Estimation of Hedonic Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 60-109, February.
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    6. Michael P. Keane, 1993. "Individual Heterogeneity and Interindustry Wage Differentials," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(1), pages 134-161.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Amit Gandhi & Bernard Salanie & Francois Salanie, 2009. "Identifying Preferences under Risk from Discrete Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 356-362, May.
    2. Ajay Mahal & Brendan O'Flaherty & David E. Bloom, 2009. "Needle Sharing and HIV Transmission: A Model with Markets and Purposive Behavior," NBER Working Papers 14823, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Evans, Mary F. & Schaur, Georg, 2010. "A quantile estimation approach to identify income and age variation in the value of a statistical life," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 260-270, May.
    4. Spengler, Hannes & Schaffner, Sandra, 2007. "Using Job Changes to Evaluate the Bias of the Value of a Statistical Life," Ruhr Economic Papers 14, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Linda Bilmes & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2006. "The Economic Costs of the Iraq War: An Appraisal Three Years After the Beginning of the Conflict," Working Papers id:387, eSocialSciences.
    6. repec:zbw:rwirep:0014 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Hannes Spengler & Sandra Schaffner, 2007. "Using Job Changes to Evaluate the Bias of the Value of a Statistical Life," Ruhr Economic Papers 0014, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)

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