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Heterogeneity in the Value of Life

Author

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  • Aldy, Joseph E.
  • Smyth, Seamus J.

Abstract

We develop a numerical life-cycle model -- with choice over consumption and leisure, stochastic mortality and labor income processes, and calibrated to U.S. data -- to characterize willingness to pay (WTP) for mortality risk reduction. Our theoretical framework can explain many empirical findings in this literature, including an inverted-U life-cycle WTP and an order of magnitude difference in prime-aged adults WTP. By endogenizing leisure and employing multiple income measures, we reconcile the literature's large variation in estimated income elasticities. By accounting for gender- and race-specic stochastic mortality and income processes, we explain the literature's black-white and female-male differences.

Suggested Citation

  • Aldy, Joseph E. & Smyth, Seamus J., 2014. "Heterogeneity in the Value of Life," Discussion Papers dp-14-13, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-14-13
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    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. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2004. "Changes in the Value of Life, 1940--1980," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 159-180, September.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Janusz R. Mrozek & Laura O. Taylor, 2002. "What determines the value of life? a meta-analysis," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(2), pages 253-270.
    6. 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.
    7. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
    8. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Christopher I. & Yaron, Amir, 2004. "Consumption and risk sharing over the life cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 609-633, April.
    9. Leeth, John D & Ruser, John, 2003. "Compensating Wage Differentials for Fatal and Nonfatal Injury Risk by Gender and Race," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 257-277, December.
    10. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-399, April.
    11. Rosen, Sherwin, 1988. "The Value of Changes in Life Expectancy," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 285-304, September.
    12. Viscusi, W Kip, 2003. "Racial Differences in Labor Market Values of a Statistical Life," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 239-256, December.
    13. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 2007. "The Value of Life and the Rise in Health Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 39-72.
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    15. Kniesner Thomas J & Viscusi W. Kip & Ziliak James P, 2006. "Life-Cycle Consumption and the Age-Adjusted Value of Life," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-36, January.
    16. 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.
    17. Carroll, Christopher D. & Samwick, Andrew A., 1997. "The nature of precautionary wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 41-71, September.
    18. 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.
    19. Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov & Lofgren, Karl-Gustaf, 1997. "On the Value of Changes in Life Expectancy: Blips versus Parametric Changes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 221-239, December.
    20. Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 2006. "The Value of Health and Longevity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 871-904, October.
    21. Viscusi, W. Kip & Hersch, Joni, 2008. "The mortality cost to smokers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 943-958, July.
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    24. 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.
    25. 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.
    26. Johansson, Per-Olov, 1996. "On the value of changes in life expectancy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 105-113, February.
    27. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
    28. Blomquist, Glenn C. & Dickie, Mark & O'Conor, Richard M., 2011. "Willingness to pay for improving fatality risks and asthma symptoms: Values for children and adults of all ages," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 410-425, May.
    29. 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.
    30. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vanschoonbeek, Jakob, 2016. "Regional (In)Stability in Europe: a Quantitative Model of State Fragmentation," MPRA Paper 73976, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    value of statistical life; mortality risk reduction; income elasticity;

    JEL classification:

    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

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