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The Value of a Life: New Evidence of the Relationship between Changes in Occupational Fatalities and Wages of Hourly Workers, 1992 to 1999

William P. Jennings and Albert Kinderman
The Journal of Risk and Insurance
Vol. 70, No. 3 (Sep., 2003), pp. 549-561
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3519908
Page Count: 13
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The Value of a Life: New Evidence of the Relationship between Changes in Occupational Fatalities and Wages of Hourly Workers, 1992 to 1999
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Abstract

The Environmental Protection Agency and other government agencies use the willingness-to-pay concept in labor market studies to estimate the value of a life for evaluating regulatory policies and projects. This study uses new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period 1992-1999 on industry injury and illness rates and fatality rates to examine the relationship between changes in occupational mortality rates and in hourly wages. The analysis finds that there is no statistically significant evidence that changes in occupational mortality are associated with changes in wages and, thus, there is no empirical basis for using the willingness-to-pay concept as a reliable method for valuing a life or evaluating regulatory policies.

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