The value of a statistical life: theoretical and empirical evidence

Appl Health Econ Health Policy. 2002;1(1):33-41.


The value of a statistical life is an important concept in health and environmental economics. This paper provides definitions of the value of a statistical life, and considers single-period and life cycle models. It shows how the value of a statistical life can be measured simply in empirical studies, and addresses the important age profile issue. Available empirical evidence is briefly presented, and recent studies are included that use meta-analysis to determine which variables are appropriate to explain the variance of estimates of the value of statistical life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Financing, Personal
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Models, Econometric*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Value of Life / economics*