W. Kip Viscusi

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American Law and Economics Review

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life valuation, risks, damages, hedonic damages


Insurance Law | Law


Value of life issues traditionally pertain to insurance of the losses of accident victims, for which replacement of the economic loss is often an appropriate concept. Deterrence measures of the value of life focus on risk-money tradeoffs involving small changes in risk. Using market data for risky jobs and product risk contexts often yields substantial estimates of the value of life in the range of $3 million to $9 million. These estimates are useful in providing guidance for regulatory policy and assessments of liability. However, use of these values to determine compensation, known as hedonic damages, leads to excessive insurance.

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