What's in a Name? A Systematic Search for Alternatives to "VSL"
Kelly B. Maguire,
Stephen Newbold (),
Alan Krupnick and
Laura Taylor ()
No 201801, NCEE Working Paper Series from National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Benefit-cost analyses of environmental, health, and safety regulations often rely on an estimate of the “value of statistical life,” or VSL, to calculate the aggregate benefits of human mortality risk reductions in monetary terms. The VSL represents the marginal rate of substitution between mortality risk and money, and while well-understood by economists, to many non-economists, decision-makers, media professionals, and others, the term resembles obfuscated jargon bordering on the immoral. This paper describes a series of seven focus groups in which we applied a systematic approach for identifying and testing alternatives to the VSL terminology. Our objective was to identify a term that better communicates the VSL concept. Specifically, a list of 17 alternatives to the VSL term was developed and tested in focus groups that culminated in a formal ranking exercise. Using a round-robin tournament approach to analyze the data, and our qualitative judgments, we identify “value of reduced mortality risk” as the dominant replacement term among the alternatives tested.
Keywords: value of statistical life; mortality risk valuation; terminology; focus group (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J17 Q51 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 33 pages
Date: 2018-01, Revised 2018-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
https://www.epa.gov/environmental-economics/workin ... rch-alternatives-vsl First version, 2018 (application/pdf)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:nev:wpaper:wp201801
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in NCEE Working Paper Series from National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Cynthia Morgan ().