IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/25708.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Birds of a Feather: Estimating the Value of Statistical Life from Dual-Earner Families

Author

Listed:
  • Joseph E. Aldy

Abstract

Economists have long employed hedonic wage analysis to estimate income-fatality risk trade-offs, but some scholars have raised concerns about systematic measurement error and omitted variable bias in the empirical applications of this model. Recent studies have employed panel methods to remove time-invariant individual-specific characteristics that could induce bias in estimation. In an analogous manner, this paper proposes to exploit assortative matching on risk attitudes within married couples to control for worker characteristics that are unobserved to the econometrician. I develop and implement a modified hedonic wage estimator based on a within-coupled differenced wage equation for full-time working married couples with the Current Population Survey Merged Outgoing Rotation Group over 1996-2002. The key assumption builds on the findings in the assortative matching literature that individuals often marry those who have common traits across many dimensions, including those that may influence worker wages and are correlated with observed occupational fatality risks. This estimator identifies the compensating differential for occupation fatality risk by using within-couple differencing to remove unobserved determinants of risk attitudes and risk-mitigation ability, on which couples match, from the error term. I find that the value of statistical life (VSL) varies from $9 to $13 million (2016$). The within-couple differenced VSL estimates are stable and more robust to variation in specification of the hedonic wage model than conventional, cross-sectional hedonic wage models. I also find that the value of statistical life takes an inverted-U shape with respect to age.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph E. Aldy, 2019. "Birds of a Feather: Estimating the Value of Statistical Life from Dual-Earner Families," NBER Working Papers 25708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25708
    Note: EEE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w25708.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Joseph E. Aldy & W. Kip Viscusi, 2008. "Adjusting the Value of a Statistical Life for Age and Cohort Effects," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 573-581, August.
    2. Coren, S., 1989. "Left-handedness and accident-related injury risk," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 79(8), pages 1040-1041.
    3. Joseph E. Aldy & W. Kip Viscusi, 2007. "Age Differences in the Value of Statistical Life: Revealed Preference Evidence," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 1(2), pages 241-260, Summer.
    4. Eeckhoudt, Louis R. & Hammitt, James K., 2004. "Does risk aversion increase the value of mortality risk?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 13-29, January.
    5. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2010. "Matching with a Handicap: The Case of Smoking in the Marriage Market," IZA Discussion Papers 5392, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Philomena Bacon & Anna Conte & Peter Moffatt, 2014. "Assortative mating on risk attitude," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(3), pages 389-401, October.
    7. Black, Dan A & Kniesner, Thomas J, 2003. "On the Measurement of Job Risk in Hedonic Wage Models," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 205-220, December.
    8. Viscusi, W Kip & Aldy, Joseph E, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 5-76, August.
    9. Orley Ashenfelter, 2006. "Measuring the Value of a Statistical Life: Problems and Prospects," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 10-23, March.
    10. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence Katz, 1992. "Does Unmeasured Ability Explain Inter-Industry Wage Differentials?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(3), pages 515-535.
    11. 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.
    12. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    13. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 645-677.
    14. Miles S. Kimball & Claudia R. Sahm & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2009. "Risk Preferences in the PSID: Individual Imputations and Family Covariation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 363-368, May.
    15. W. Kip Viscusi, 2004. "The Value of Life: Estimates with Risks by Occupation and Industry," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(1), pages 29-48, January.
    16. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 11-26, Part II, .
    17. Johansson, Per-Olov, 2002. "On the Definition and Age-Dependency of the Value of a Statistical Life," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 251-263, November.
    18. Johansson, Per-Olov, 2002. "On the Definition and Age-Dependency of the Value of a Statistical Life. A Review and Extension," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 490, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 29 Jan 2002.
    19. Johansson, Per-Olov, 1996. "On the value of changes in life expectancy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 105-113, February.
    20. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
    21. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Jahn K. Hakes & W. Kip Viscusi, 2007. "Automobile Seatbelt Usage and the Value of Statistical Life," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 73(3), pages 659-676, January.
    23. Thomas J. Kniesner & W. Kip Viscusi & Christopher Woock & James P. Ziliak, 2012. "The Value of a Statistical Life: Evidence from Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 74-87, February.
    24. Behrman, Jere R & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Taubman, Paul, 1994. "Endowments and the Allocation of Schooling in the Family and in the Marriage Market: The Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1131-1174, December.
    25. Donald S. Shepard & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1984. "Survival versus Consumption," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(4), pages 423-439, April.
    26. Alan Krupnick, 2007. "Mortality-risk Valuation and Age: Stated Preference Evidence," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 1(2), pages 261-282, Summer.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. James K. Hammitt, 2020. "Valuing mortality risk in the time of COVID-19," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 61(2), pages 129-154, October.
    2. W. Kip Viscusi, 2019. "Risk guideposts for a safer society: Introduction and overview," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 58(2), pages 101-119, June.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Joseph E. Aldy, 2019. "Birds of a feather: Estimating the value of statistical life from dual-earner families," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 58(2), pages 187-205, June.
    2. Aldy, Joseph, 2019. "Birds of a Feather: Estimating the Value of Statistical Life from Dual-Earner Families," Working Paper Series rwp19-013, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    3. Henrik Andersson & Nicolas Treich, 2011. "The Value of a Statistical Life," Chapters, in: André de Palma & Robin Lindsey & Emile Quinet & Roger Vickerman (ed.), A Handbook of Transport Economics, chapter 17, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Aldy, Joseph E. & Smyth, Seamus J., 2014. "Heterogeneity in the Value of Life," Discussion Papers dp-14-13, Resources For the Future.
    5. James O’Brien, 2018. "Age, autos, and the value of a statistical life," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 57(1), pages 51-79, August.
    6. Herrera-Araujo, Daniel & Rochaix, Lise, 2020. "Does the Value per Statistical Life vary with age or baseline health? Evidence from a compensating wage study in France," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 103(C).
    7. Antoine Bommier & Bertrand Villeneuve, 2012. "Risk Aversion and the Value of Risk to Life," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 79(1), pages 77-104, March.
    8. Cameron, Trudy Ann & DeShazo, J.R., 2013. "Demand for health risk reductions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 87-109.
    9. Henry A. Roman & James K. Hammitt & Tyra L. Walsh & David M. Stieb, 2012. "Expert Elicitation of the Value per Statistical Life in an Air Pollution Context," Risk Analysis, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 32(12), pages 2133-2151, December.
    10. W. Kip Viscusi, 2015. "The Role of Publication Selection Bias in Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life," American Journal of Health Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 27-52, Winter.
    11. Lisa A. Robinson & James K. Hammitt, 2016. "Valuing Reductions in Fatal Illness Risks: Implications of Recent Research," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(8), pages 1039-1052, August.
    12. Viscusi, W. Kip & Hersch, Joni, 2008. "The mortality cost to smokers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 943-958, July.
    13. 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 331-359, February.
    14. W. Viscusi, 2010. "The heterogeneity of the value of statistical life: Introduction and overview," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 1-13, February.
    15. Mary Evans & V. Kerry Smith, 2008. "Complementarity and the Measurement of Individual Risk Tradeoffs: Accounting for Quantity and Quality of Life Effects," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 41(3), pages 381-400, November.
    16. James Hammitt, 2013. "Admissible utility functions for health, longevity, and wealth: integrating monetary and life-year measures," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 311-325, December.
    17. Kuhn, Michael & Frankovic, Ivan & Wrzaczek, Stefan, 2017. "Medical Progress, Demand for Health Care, and Economic Performance," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168249, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    18. Thomas Kniesner & W. Viscusi & James Ziliak, 2010. "Policy relevant heterogeneity in the value of statistical life: New evidence from panel data quantile regressions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 15-31, February.
    19. Thomas J. Kniesner & W. Kip Viscusi & Christopher Woock & James P. Ziliak, 2012. "The Value of a Statistical Life: Evidence from Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 74-87, February.
    20. 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, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25708. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.