Environmental Economics

Report of the EPA Work Group on VSL Meta-analysis

In December 2005 a work group convened by the Environmental Protection Agency met to discuss the meta-analysis of estimates of the value of statistical life (VSL) and to examine three existing meta-analyses. The following report contains an analysis of the use of meta-analytic procedures to determine an estimate of VSL. Many detailed issues are covered in this report, but several general comments are also highlighted.

Whereas meta-analysis is a reasonable analytical approach to use in obtaining information about VSL, the existing meta-analyses should not be combined in this effort. The key issues the work group uncovered include a high degree of heterogeneity (inconsistency) in the VSL estimates and dependencies (that could not be accounted for) stemming from inclusion of multiple estimates derived from the same underlying data; these issues preclude relying on these meta-analyses as a source of a final VSL estimate.

The work group recommends that in future meta-analyses results of contingent valuation and hedonic wage studies be analyzed separately. A basic consideration for the EPA is the determination of whether a single universal VSL value is applicable to all relevant subpopulations, or whether multiple VSL values should be provided for subpopulations. In particular, meta-analytic methods provide a variety of ways that could be used to characterize a population of VSL values.

  • Keywords

    1. Benefits Analysis
    1. Benefits Analysis - Valuation
    1. Benefits Analysis - Valuation - Stated Preference
    1. Benefits Analysis - Valuation - Stated Preference - Contingent Valuation
    1. Benefits Analysis - Valuation - Revealed Preference
    1. Benefits Analysis - Valuation - Revealed Preference - Wage Differential
    1. Benefits Analysis - Valuation - Other
    Environmental Media:
    f. Multimedia
    Allen, Eilaine
    Becker, Betsy Jane
    Berlin, Jesse A.
    Morton, Sally C.
    Olkin, Ingram
    Rindskopf, David
    Sampson, Allan R.
    Wilson, David B.
    EPA Project Officer/ Manager:
    Simon, Nathalie
    Geographic Area:
    Study Purpose:
    Methodology Development & Evaluation
    Inventory Record #: EE-0494
  • Participating Organizations

    Funding Organization:
    Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation, National Center for Environmental EconomicsAddress:
    City: State: ZIP:
    Phone: Fax:
  • Report Details
    Number of Pages:
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    Date Linked: 05/28/2009