Price of a Life: Statistical Navel-Gazing Deep Dive

You can spend your life analyzing the analyses of lives. Yes, there is a cost to it. To jump-start that process, read this study:

The Value of Statistical Life: A Meta-Analysis of Meta-Analyses,” H. Spencer Banzhaf, Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, vol. 13, no. 2, 2022, pp. 182-197. the author explains:

“The value of statistical life (VSL) is arguably the most important number in benefit–cost analyses of environmental, health, and transportation policies. However, agencies have used a wide range of VSL values. One reason may be the embarrassment of riches when it comes to VSL studies. While meta-analysis is a standard way to synthesize information across studies, we now have multiple competing meta-analyses and reviews. Thus, to analysts, picking one such meta-analysis may feel as hard as picking a single “best study.” This article responds by taking the meta-analysis another step, estimating a meta-analysis (or mixture distribution) of seven meta-analyses. The baseline model yields a central VSL of $8.0 m, with a 90 % confidence interval of $2.4–$14.0 m.”


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