Life-Cycle Consumption and the Age-Adjusted Value of Life

42 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2004

See all articles by Thomas J. Kniesner

Thomas J. Kniesner

Department of Economic Sciences; Syracuse University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

James P. Ziliak

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2004

Abstract

Our research examines empirically the age pattern of the implicit value of life revealed from workers' differential wages and job safety pairings. Although aging reduces the number of years of life expectancy, aging can affect the value of life through an effect on planned life-cycle consumption. The elderly could, a priori, have the highest implicit value of life if there is a life-cycle plan to defer consumption until old age. We find that largely due to the age pattern of consumption, which is non-constant, the implicit value of life rises and falls over the lifetime in a way that the value for the elderly is higher than the average over all ages or for the young. There are important policy implications of our empirical results. Because there may be age-specific benefits of programs to save statistical lives, instead of valuing the lives of the elderly at less than the young, policymakers should more correctly value the lives of the elderly at as much as twice the young because of relatively greater consumption lost when accidental death occurs.

JEL Classification: I10, J17, J28, K00

Suggested Citation

Kniesner, Thomas J. and Viscusi, W. Kip and Ziliak, James P., Life-Cycle Consumption and the Age-Adjusted Value of Life (February 2004). Harvard Law and Economics Discussion Paper No. 459. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=580761 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.580761

Thomas J. Kniesner

Department of Economic Sciences ( email )

Claremont, CA 91711
United States

Syracuse University - Department of Economics ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13244-1020
United States
315-443-4589 (Phone)
315-443-1081 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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

James P. Ziliak

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

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