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Roy Model Sorting and Non-Random Selection in the Valuation of a Statistical Life

  • Thomas DeLeire
  • Christopher Timmins

Wage-hedonics is used to recover the value of a statistical life by exploiting the fact that workers choosing riskier occupations will be compensated with a higher wage. However, Roy (1951) suggests that observed wage distributions will be distorted if individuals select into jobs according to idiosyncratic returns. We illustrate how this type of sorting may bias wage-hedonic VSL estimates and describe two estimators that correct for it. Using data from the CPS, we recover VSL estimates that are three to four times larger than those based on the traditional techniques, statistically significant, and robust to a wide array of specifications.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14364.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Publication status: published as Thomas DeLeire & Shakeeb Khan & Christopher Timmins, 2013. "Roy Model Sorting And Nonrandom Selection In The Valuation Of A Statistical Life," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54(1), pages 279-306, 02.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14364
Note: EEE LS
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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.
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  8. Patrick Bajari & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Estimating Housing Demand with an Application to Explaining Racial Segregation in Cities," NBER Working Papers 9891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Savage, Ian, 1993. " An Empirical Investigation into the Effect of Psychological Perceptions on the Willingness-to-Pay to Reduce Risk," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 75-90, January.
  11. Patrick Bayer & Shakeeb Khan & Christopher Timmins, 2008. "Nonparametric Identification and Estimation in a Generalized Roy Model," NBER Working Papers 13949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Hersch, Joni & Pickton, Todd S, 1995. "Risk-Taking Activities and Heterogeneity of Job-Risk Tradeoffs," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 205-17, December.
  13. Thomas J. Kniesner & W. Kip Viscusi & Christopher Woock & James P. Ziliak, 2006. "Pinning Down the Value of Statistical Life," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 85, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
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  16. Ted Gayer & James T. Hamilton & W. Kip Viscusi, 2000. "Private Values Of Risk Tradeoffs At Superfund Sites: Housing Market Evidence On Learning About Risk," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 439-451, August.
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  18. Revesz, Richard L., 1999. "Environmental Regulation, Cost-Benefit Analysis, and the Discounting of Human Lives," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt57q8284f, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
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