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Evaluating human life using court decisions on damages for pain and suffering

  • Leiter, Andrea M.

    ()

    (Department of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck)

  • Thöni, Magdalena

    ()

    (Department for Human and Economic Sciences, University of Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology (UMIT))

  • Winner, Hannes

    ()

    (University of Salzburg)

This paper provides a framework to evaluate human life based on court decisions on damages for pain and suffering. Using judgements from Germany and Austria over the last 25 years, we calculate an average Value of Damages for Pain and Suffering (VDPS) of about EUR 1.79 millions, with a minimum (maximum) of around EUR 0.67 (4.62) millions. These values are broadly in line with the ones from previous studies. However, our approach also allows to calculate the value of body parts and body functions, which might be of interest if information on the benefit of an individual’s change in life quality is not (entirely) available (e.g., decisions to provide specific health services).

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Paper provided by University of Salzburg in its series Working Papers in Economics and Finance with number 2010-11.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 15 Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:sbgwpe:2010_011
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  1. W. Kip Viscusi & Joseph E. Aldy, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," NBER Working Papers 9487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. W. Viscusi, 2008. "How to value a life," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 311-323, October.
  3. Lott, John R, Jr & Manning, Richard L, 2000. "Have Changing Liability Rules Compensated Workers Twice for Occupational Hazards? Earnings Premiums and Cancer Risks," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 99-130, January.
  4. 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.
  5. Johannesson, Magnus & Johansson, Per-Olov & O'Conor, Richard M, 1996. "The Value of Private Safety versus the Value of Public Safety," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 263-75, November.
  6. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Drummond, Michael F. & Sculpher, Mark J. & Torrance, George W. & O'Brien, Bernie J. & Stoddart, Greg L., 2005. "Methods for the Economic Evaluation of Health Care Programmes," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 3, number 9780198529453, March.
  8. Hannes Spengler & Sandra Schaffner, 2007. "Using Job Changes to Evaluate the Bias of the Value of a Statistical Life," Ruhr Economic Papers 0014, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  9. Weinstein, Milton C & Shepard, Donald S & Pliskin, Joseph S, 1980. "The Economic Value of Changing Mortality Probabilities: A Decision-Theoretic Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 373-96, March.
  10. James M. Anderson & Jeffrey R. Kling & Kate Stith, 1998. "Measuring Inter-judge Sentencing Disparity Before and After the Federal Sentencing Guidelines," Working Papers 153, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
  11. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-4742827 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Jones-Lee, Michael W, 1974. "The Value of Changes in the Probability of Death or Injury," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 835-49, July/Aug..
  13. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-4742810 is not listed on IDEAS
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