Mortality Risk Valuation in Environment, Health and Transport Policies

Mortality Risk Valuation in Environment, Health and Transport Policies You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
02 Feb 2012
Pages :
140
ISBN :
9789264130807 (PDF) ; 9789264130760 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/9789264130807-en

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The book presents a major meta-analysis of 'value of a statistical life' (VSL) estimates derived from surveys where people around the world have been asked about their willingness to pay for small reduction in mortality risks. The analysis seeks to explain the differences in the estimates, for example across countries. Differences in incomes and the magintude of the risk reduction people have been asked to value were found to be the factors having the strongest impact on VSL, but a number of other policy-relevant factors are also important. Based on the meta-analysis, and a broad review of the literature, the book also presents clear advice on how VSL values best can be used in assessments of environmental, health and transport policies, such as in cost-benefit analyses. Using explicit VSL estimates to quantify the benefits to society of fatality risk reductions can play an important role in the development of more cost-effective public policies.

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  • Click to Access:  Foreword
    The idea of associating a monetary value with human life is very challenging and can seem insensitive or harsh. Life is indeed priceless, at least when considered from the complex perspective of an individual. However, policy makers are regularly devising policies and regulations that affect people’s risk of death and that seek to protect lives in society, and require methodologies for comparing the costs of reducing risk with the expected benefits in terms of lives saved. The analysis presented in this report will help policy makers get a better measure of such benefits.
  • Click to Access:  Acronyms
  • Click to Access:  Executive summary
    The idea of associating a monetary value with human life is very challenging and can seem insensitive or harsh. Life is indeed priceless, at least when considered from the complex perspective of an individual. However, policy makers are regularly devising policies and regulations that affect people’s risk of death and that seek to protect lives in society, and require methodologies for comparing the costs of reducing risk with the expected benefits in terms of lives saved.
  • Click to Access:  The valuation of mortality risk
    Environmental, health and transport polices often reduce mortality risks substantially. It is necessary to value such risk changes in monetary terms in order to compare them to costs in cost-benefit analysis. This report uses meta-analysis methods to take stock of stated preference studies that estimate the value of a statistical life (VSL) for adults, with the aim to explain people’s preferences for mortality risk reductions and to recommend specific VSL estimates that may be used in policy analyses. Current regulatory practices vary considerably even between agencies within the same country. Hence, there is considerable scope for more consistent and efficient treatment of the benefits of mortality risk reductions.
  • Click to Access:  Meta-database on stated preference studies of mortality risk valuation
    This chapter describes the database that was used in the meta-analyses described further in Chapter 3. First, an account is given of how the value of statistical life (VSL) estimates were collected. Next, various characteristics of the estimates, and of the surveys they stem from are illustrated. The variations in the estimates in the unscreened sample across risk contexts, countries covered, survey implementation method, types of elicitation questions, etc., are described.
  • Click to Access:  Meta-regression analysis of value of statistical life estimates
    The chapter presents the main results of a meta-analysis (MA) of stated preference (SP) surveys of mortality risk valuation. The variation in VSL is explained by differences in characteristics of the SP methodologies applied, the population affected and characteristics of the mortality risks valued.
  • Click to Access:  Using meta-analysis for benefit transfer
    There are many ways to conduct benefit transfer (BT), where a VSL estimate is transferred from the available literature to a policy context in need of a VSL estimate. One such method utilises meta-regression analysis to estimate how different policyrelevant factors affect VSL, in order to improve accuracy in BT. This chapter discusses issues to consider when using meta-analysis in BT and goes through a comprehensive example where the accuracy of simple and more advanced BT methods are compared. The example shows that the use of meta-analysis for BT may achieve accuracy gains over other methods in some situations.
  • Click to Access:  How to derive Value of a Statistical Life numbers for policy analysis
    There are four requirements for establishing value of statistical life (VSL) numbers for use in cost-benefit analyses based on transfers from the existing primary SP studies: i) A database of SP studies; ii) Criteria for assessment of the quality of primary SP studies, iii) Benefit transfer (BT) techniques, and iv) Benefit transfer guidelines. Here the two last requirements are described in more detail. Two main groups of BT techniques are described: unit value transfer and function transfer; which includes meta-analyses. The BT guidelines for VSL are based on an eightstep procedure which establishes a base value with a value range.
  • Click to Access:  Recommended Value of a Statistical Life numbers for policy analysis
    Two benefit transfer techniques, meta-analysis and unit value transfer with income adjustment, are used to establish adult VSL base values and ranges for assessing policies for the OECD and EU-27 areas.
  • Click to Access:  Recommendations for use of Value of a Statistical Life figures in policy assessments
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