Thursday, January 16, 2014

Monetary values for risk of death from air pollution exposure: a context-dependent scenario with a control for intra-familial altruism
We extend the individual dynamic model of lifetime resource allocation to assess the monetary value given to the increase in survival probabilities for every member of a household induced by improved air quality. We interpret this monetary value as VPF (value of a prevented fatality), which can also be expressed as a flow of discounted VOLY (value of life years) lost, and account for potential altruism towards other household members. We use a French air pollution contingent valuation survey that provides a description of the life-length reduction implied by a change in air pollution exposure. By privatising the public commodity air pollution, we succeed in ruling out any form of altruism (towards others living today and towards future generations) except altruism towards one's family. We estimate a mean VOLY of €2001140,000, a 30% premium for VOLY in perfect health w.r.t. average expected health status, and a mean VPF of €2001 1.45 million for the respondent, all context-specific. In addition, we find an inverted U-shaped relationship between his/her age and VOLY/VPF, and significant benevolence only towards children under 18.

by Olivier Chanela and Stéphane Luchinia both of Aix-Marseille University (Aix-Marseille School of Economics), CNRS & EHESS, GREQAM and IDEP, Centre de la Vieille Charité, 13236 Marseille Cedex 02, France
Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy via Taylor and Francis
Volume 3, Issue 1, 2014; pages 67-91; Published online: December 16, 2013
Keywords: value of statistical life, air pollution, value of a life year, familial altruism, contingent valuation

In the 1830s, Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, left instructions to be followed upon his death which led to the creation of a sort of modern-day mummy. He asked that his body be displayed to illustrate how the "horror at dissection originates in ignorance"; once so displayed and lectured about, he asked that his body parts be preserved, including his skeleton (minus his skull, which despite being mis-preserved, was displayed beneath his feet until theft required it to be stored elsewhere), which were to be dressed in the clothes he usually wore and "seated in a Chair usually occupied by me when living in the attitude in which I am sitting when engaged in thought." His body, outfitted with a wax head created because of problems preparing it as Bentham requested, is on open display in the University College London

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