Best Estimate Selection Bias of Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life
47 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2017
Date Written: February 17, 2017
Selection of the best estimates of economic parameters frequently relies on the best estimate or a meta-analysis of the “best-set” of parameter estimates from the literature. Using an all-set dataset consisting of all reported estimates of the value of a statistical life (VSL) as well as a best-set sample of the best estimates from these studies, this article estimates statistically significant publication selection biases in each case. Biases are much greater for the best-set sample, as one might expect, given the subjective nature of the best-set selection process. While “best estimate selection bias” potentially exacerbates the problems associated with existing publication selection biases, the mean and median best-set estimates of the VSL are similar to those in the all-set sample. The bias-corrected estimate of the VSL for the all-set USA sample is $9.5 million and $11.5 million based on the CFOI data.
Keywords: value of a statistical life, meta-analysis, publication selection bias, VSL
JEL Classification: I18, I12, K32, J17, J31
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