The Value of a Statistical Life in a Dictatorship: Evidence from Stalin

59 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2018

See all articles by Castaneda Dower

Castaneda Dower

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Andrei Markevich

New Economic School

Shlomo Weber

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Department of Economics; New Economic School

Date Written: March 2018

Abstract

We examine the value of a statistical life (VSL) in inter-war Soviet Union. Our approach requires to address the preferences of Stalin. We model these on the basis of the policy of statistical repression, which was an integral part of the Great Terror. We use regional variation in the victims generated by this policy to structurally estimate the value that Stalin would have been willing to accept for a reduction in citizens' fatality risk. Our estimate of this value is $43,151, roughly 6% of the VSL estimate in 1940's US and 29% of the VSL estimate in modern India.

Keywords: Autocracy, Dictatorship, Great Terror, Stalin, Value of a Statistical Life

JEL Classification: I30, J17, N44, P51

Suggested Citation

Dower, Castaneda and Markevich, Andrei and Weber, Shlomo, The Value of a Statistical Life in a Dictatorship: Evidence from Stalin (March 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12814, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3149487

Castaneda Dower (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

Andrei Markevich

New Economic School ( email )

100 Novaya Street
Skolkovo
Moscow, 143025
Russia
+79629851892 (Phone)
+74991293722 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://fir.nes.ru/en/people/professors/Pages/amarkevich.aspx

Shlomo Weber

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Department of Economics ( email )

Dallas, TX 75275
United States
214-768-3577 (Phone)
214-768-1821 (Fax)

New Economic School ( email )

Moscow
Russia
+ 7-495-9569508 (Phone)

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