Discussion Paper

Labor Market Estimates of the Senior Discount for the Value of Statistical Life

Feb 27, 2006 | Kip Viscusi, Joseph E. Aldy

Abstract

This article develops the first measures of age-industry job risks to examine the age variations in the value of statistical life. Because of the greater risk vulnerability of older workers, they face flatter wage-risk gradients than younger workers, which we show to be the case empirically. Accounting for this heterogeneity in hedonic market equilibria leads to estimates of the value of statistical life-age relationship that follows an inverted-U shape. The estimates of the value of statistical life range from $6.4 million for younger workers to a peak of $9.0 million for those age 35-44, and then a decline to $3.7 million for those age 55-62. The decline of the estimated VSL with age is consistent with there being some senior discount in the Clear Skies Initiative analysis.