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Age, Health, and the Willingness to Pay for Mortality Risk Reductions: A Contingent Valuation Survey in Japan


  • Krupnick, Alan

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Alberini, Anna
  • Simon, Nathalie
  • Itaoka, Kenshi
  • Akai, Makoto
  • Cropper, Maureen


A contingent valuation survey was conducted in Sizuoka, Japan, to estimate the willingness to pay (WTP) for reductions in the risk of dying and calculate the value of statistical life (VSL) for use in environmental policy in Japan. Special attention was devoted to the effects of age and health characteristics on WTP. We find that the VSLs are somewhat lower (103 to 344 million yen) than those found in the virtually identical survey applied in some developed countries. These values were subject to a variety of validity tests, which they generally passed. We find that the WTP for those over age 70 is lower than that for younger adults, but that this effect is eliminated in multiple regression. Rather, when accounting for other covariates, we find that WTP generally increases with age throughout the ages in our sample (age 40 and over). The effect of health status on WTP is mixed, with WTP of those with cancer being lower than that of healthy respondents while the WTP of those with heart disease is greater. The VSLs for future risk changes are lower than those for contemporaneous risk reductions. The implicit discount rates of 5.8–8.0% are relatively larger than the discount rate regularly used in environment policy analyses. This first-of-its-kind survey in Japan provides information directly useful for estimating the benefits of environmental and other policies that lower mortality risks to the general population and sub-groups with a variety of specific traits.

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  • Krupnick, Alan & Alberini, Anna & Simon, Nathalie & Itaoka, Kenshi & Akai, Makoto & Cropper, Maureen, 2005. "Age, Health, and the Willingness to Pay for Mortality Risk Reductions: A Contingent Valuation Survey in Japan," Discussion Papers dp-05-34, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-05-34

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anna Alberini & Maureen Cropper & Alan Krupnick & Nathalie Simon, 2006. "Willingness to pay for mortality risk reductions: Does latency matter?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 231-245, May.
    2. Alberini, Anna & Cropper, Maureen & Krupnick, Alan & Simon, N.B.Nathalie B., 2004. "Does the value of a statistical life vary with age and health status? Evidence from the US and Canada," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 769-792, July.
    3. Hammitt, James K & Graham, John D, 1999. "Willingness to Pay for Health Protection: Inadequate Sensitivity to Probability?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 33-62, April.
    4. Jones-Lee, M W, 1992. "Paternalistic Altruism and the Value of Statistical Life," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(410), pages 80-90, January.
    5. Smith, V Kerry & Desvousges, William H, 1987. "An Empirical Analysis of the Economic Value of Risk Changes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 89-114, February.
    6. 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.
    7. Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov, 1996. "To Be, or Not to Be, That Is the Question: An Empirical Study of the WTP for an Increased Life Expectancy at an Advanced Age," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 163-174, September.
    8. Michael D. Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 2002. "The Predictive Validity of Subjective Probabilities of Survival," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 966-985, October.
    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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen C. Newbold, 2011. "Valuing Health Risk Changes Using a Life-Cycle Consumption Framework," NCEE Working Paper Series 201103, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Apr 2011.
    2. Hoffmann, Sandra & Qin, Ping & Krupnick, Alan & Badrakh, Burmaajav & Batbaatar, Suvd & Altangerel, Enkhjargal & Sereeter, Lodoysamba, 2012. "The willingness to pay for mortality risk reductions in Mongolia," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 493-513.
    3. Thijs Dekker & Roy Brouwer & Marjan Hofkes & Klaus Moeltner, 2011. "The Effect of Risk Context on the Value of a Statistical Life: a Bayesian Meta-model," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(4), pages 597-624, August.

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    willingness to pay; value of statistical life; mortality risk; contingent valuation; age;

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