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Are estimates of the value of a statistical life exaggerated?

Chris Doucouliagos, T. Stanley and Margaret Giles ()

Journal of Health Economics, 2012, vol. 31, issue 1, 197-206

Abstract: The magnitude of the value of a statistical life (VSL) is critical to the evaluation of many health and safety initiatives. To date, the large and rigorous VSL research literature has not explicitly accommodated publication selectivity bias (i.e., the reduced probability that insignificant or negative VSL values are reported). This study demonstrates that doing so is essential. For studies that employ hedonic wage equations to estimate VSL, correction for selection bias reduces the average value of a statistical life by 70–80%. Our meta-regression analysis also identifies several sources for the wide heterogeneity found among reported VSL estimates.

Keywords: Value of statistical life; Meta-regression analysis; Selectivity bias (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C20 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (53)

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2011.10.001

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Journal of Health Economics is currently edited by J. P. Newhouse, A. J. Culyer, R. Frank, K. Claxton and T. McGuire

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