Best Estimate Selection Bias of Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life

47 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2017  

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: February 17, 2017

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Viscusi, W. Kip, Best Estimate Selection Bias of Estimates of the Value of a Statistical Life (February 17, 2017). Vanderbilt Law Research Paper No. 17-7. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2919555 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2919555

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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