The value of a statistical life: A meta-analysis with a mixed effects regression model
The value of a statistical life (VSL) is a very controversial topic, but one which is essential to the optimization of governmental decisions. We see a great variability in the values obtained from different studies. The source of this variability needs to be understood, in order to offer public decision-makers better guidance in choosing a value and to set clearer guidelines for future research on the topic. This article presents a meta-analysis based on 39 observations obtained from 37 studies (from nine different countries) which all use a hedonic wage method to calculate the VSL. Our meta-analysis is innovative in that it is the first to use the mixed effects regression model [Raudenbush, S.W., 1994. Random effects models. In: Cooper, H., Hedges, L.V. (Eds.), The Handbook of Research Synthesis. Russel Sage Foundation, New York] to analyze studies on the value of a statistical life. We conclude that the variability found in the values studied stems in large part from differences in methodologies.