Valuation of Environment-Related Health Risks for Children

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Is the value of reducing environmental risk greater for children than for adults? If so, what does this mean for policy makers? This report, the final output of the Valuation of Environment-Related Health Impacts (VERHI) project, presents new research findings on these key environmental policy questions.

The authors estimate a "VSL" (Value of a Statistical Life) for children and adults based on new methodological approaches for valuing children’s health. The survey work is distinguished by its international dimension (surveys were conducted in the Czech Republic, Italy and the United Kingdom) and by the extensive development efforts undertaken.

The result: Two new survey instruments based on different methodological approaches; new estimates of the VSL for adults and children; analysis of the effects of context and other factors on risk preferences; presentation of novel ways to communicate risk, including a variety of visual aids; and insights that identify interesting paths for further study.

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Valuing Health Risks for Children – The Research Challenges

There are a number of methodological complications which arise when valuing health risk reductions. These include issues associated with: the elicitation of preferences from third parties; household decision-making and composition; the low probability and unfamiliar or uncertain nature of the risks faced; the effects of different characteristics or types of risk; and, the discounting of future benefits for latent health impacts. In some cases these complications are likely to be most acute for the valuation of risk reductions for children.

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