Hammitt, James K. and Robinson, Lisa A. (2015) Research Synthesis and the Value per Statistical Life. Risk Analysis, 35 (6). pp. 1086-1100.

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Identification Number : 10.1111/risa.12366


The value of small changes in mortality risk, conventionally expressed as the value per statistical life (VSL), is a major determinant of the benefits of many environmental, health, and safety regulations and other policies. However, selecting an appropriate value is challenging. Different studies yield different results and analysts often find they lack estimates that are directly applicable to the policy they are assessing. Research-synthesis methods are widely used to address these concerns in many fields, yet we find only limited applications to estimating VSL. More structured, criteria-driven review of the available studies is an important first step. Additional meta-analyses that use such review as a starting point are needed to explore variation across studies as well as to adjust estimates to better fit different policy contexts. Carefully designed expert elicitation is significantly underutilized and is particularly important when the available research is limited or inconsistent.Although greater use of such methods is likely to enhance the credibility of the VSL estimates applied in policy analyses, as well as provide greater insights into the advantages and limitations of the available research, it is not clear how much the resulting estimates will vary from those currently used. In the United States, these estimates are generally around $9 million.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: June 2015
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: benefit-cost analysis, health risk valuation, value per statistical life, willingness to pay
JEL Classification: C10 - General
H43 - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2016 14:34
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2021 15:51
OAI Identifier: oai:tse-fr.eu:30288
URI: https://publications.ut-capitole.fr/id/eprint/19970
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