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Estimating the Value of a Statistical Life: The Importance of Omitted Variables and Publication Bias

  • Orley Ashenfelter

    (Princeton University and NBER)

  • Michael Greenstone

    (MIT, American Bar Foundation and NBER)

Measures of public preferences toward risk are critical to evaluations of public policies on many safety, environmental, and health issues. In this paper we provide a method for measuring the revealed preferences for safety risks from state level public choices about speed limits. The idea is to measure the value of the time saved per incremental fatality that results from the voluntary adoption of an increased speed limit. Since adopters must have valued the time saved by greater speeds more than the fatalities created, this ratio provides a convincing and credible upper bound on the value of a statistical life (VSL).

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File URL: http://www.princeton.edu/ceps/workingpapers/97ashenfelter.pdf
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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 105.

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Date of creation: Jan 2004
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Handle: RePEc:pri:cepsud:97ashenfelter
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  1. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2002. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," Working Papers 842, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Glenn C. Blomquist, 2003. "Self Protection and Averting Behavior, Values of Statistical Lives, and Benefit Cost Analysis of Environmental Policy," NCEE Working Paper Series 200302, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Mar 2003.
  3. 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.
  4. Orley Ashenfelter & Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2000. "A Review of Estimates of the Schooling/Earnings Relationship, with Tests for Publication Bias," NBER Working Papers 7457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Viscusi, W Kip, 1993. "The Value of Risks to Life and Health," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1912-46, December.
  6. Richard Thaler & Sherwin Rosen, 1976. "The Value of Saving a Life: Evidence from the Labor Market," NBER Chapters, in: Household Production and Consumption, pages 265-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  1. Meta-Analysis in Economics

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