The value of a statistical life for transportation regulations: A test of the benefits transfer methodology
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Policy applications of the value of a statistical life (VSL) often make a benefits transfer assumption that the VSL from one market context is broadly applicable to other contexts. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s estimate of $9.2 million is based on labor market estimates of VSL. This article examines whether there are any significant differences in labor market estimates of the VSL by the nature of the fatality, utilizing two different approaches that distinguish between fatalities resulting from transportation events and vehicle-related sources based on the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) data. The labor market estimates of VSL generalize across transport and non-transport contexts so that it is appropriate to use labor market estimates of VSL to value the benefits of transport regulations. This result holds even after accounting for the level and composition of nonfatal job injuries.