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The Value of Statistical Life and Cost-Benefit Evaluations of Landmine Clearance in Cambodia


  • Michael Cameron

    (University of Waikato)

  • John Gibson

    (University of Waikato)

  • Kent Helmers

    (Independent Consultant)

  • Steven Lim

    (University of Waikato)

  • John Tressler

    (University of Waikato)

  • Kien Vaddanak

    (Cambodian Red Cross)


Development agencies spend approximately US$400 million per year on landmine clearance. Yet many cost-benefit evaluations suggest that landmine clearance is socially wasteful because costs appear to far outweigh social benefits. This paper presents new estimates of the benefits of clearing landmines based on a contingent valuation survey in two provinces in rural Cambodia where we asked respondents questions that elicit their tradeoffs between money and the risk of death from landmine accidents. The estimated Value of a Statistical Life (VSL) is US$0.4 million. In contrast, most previous studies of landmine clearance use foregone income or average GDP per capita, which has a lifetime value of only US$2,000 in Cambodia. Humanitarian landmine clearance emerges as a more attractive rural development policy when appropriate estimates of the VSL are used.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Cameron & John Gibson & Kent Helmers & Steven Lim & John Tressler & Kien Vaddanak, 2008. "The Value of Statistical Life and Cost-Benefit Evaluations of Landmine Clearance in Cambodia," Working Papers in Economics 08/04, University of Waikato.
  • Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:08/04

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    Cited by:

    1. Papaioannou, Elias & Chiovelli, Giorgio & Michalopoulos, Stelios, 2018. "Landmines and Spatial Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 13021, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Jytte Seested Nielsen & Susan Chilton & Hugh Metcalf, 2019. "Improving the riskÔÇôrisk trade-off method for use in safety project appraisal responses," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 21(1), pages 61-86, January.

    More about this item


    benefit-cost analysis; contingent valuation; landmines; value of statistical life;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
    • O22 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Project Analysis

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