Misuses and Proper Uses of Hedonic Values of Life

27 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2000  

W. Kip Viscusi

Vanderbilt University - Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics

Date Written: August 2000

Abstract

Estimates of the statistical value of life have become the standard reference point for valuing risks to life and health in regulatory contexts. Attempts to use these estimates in courtroom settings as a measure of compensation are misdirected. The value-of-life estimates are based on a deterrence or prevention concept rather than an insurance concept and will provide overinsurance to accident victims. Value-of-life estimates are, however, pertinent for use as reference points in assessing liability. Possible examples of where it can be used include cases such as the Ford Pinto and GMC truck burn cases.

JEL Classification: D80, J17

Suggested Citation

Viscusi, W. Kip, Misuses and Proper Uses of Hedonic Values of Life (August 2000). Harvard Law and Economics Discussion Paper No. 292. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=239971 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.239971

W. Kip Viscusi (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-343-7715 (Phone)
615-322-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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