Chapter

The Value of Life

W. Kip Viscusi

in Rational Risk Policy

Published in print March 1998 | ISBN: 9780198293637
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596995 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198293631.003.0004
 The Value of Life

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Individual trade‐offs between risk and money provide the economic basis for assigning a value of life to the benefits of mortality risk reduction associated with government policies. Compensating wage differentials for job risks provides the most common empirical basis for such assessments, and a survey of these values of life estimates is reported. Use of these values for policy purposes raises a variety of challenging issues, particularly regarding heterogeneity in the value of life. The value‐of‐life estimates differ by income group and by age, for example, but how these differences should be reflected in policy decisions remains controversial.

Keywords: job risk; mortality risk; trade‐offs; value of life; wage differentials

Chapter.  7906 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microeconomics

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