The Value of the Risk to Life in the Context of Crime

Emilio Picasso y Mariana Conte Grand | UCEMA

Por Emilio Picasso y Mariana Conte Grand

Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis. Septiembre de 2019

The value of the risk to life is a key element for benefit-cost analysis, enabling more rational public policy decisions in diverse areas as environmental, health, and crime. We value the risk to life in the context of crime using a discrete choice experiment (CE). The method has clear advantages in that it applies to the whole population and does not require vast data from labor markets, for example. Such data are not always available even in developed economies. Combining the stated preference approach with contingent valuation (CV), CE offer advantages yet to be explored in the context of crime. We demonstrate the application in a developing economy, where similar valuations are not available. The best estimate obtained for Argentina is an average of 1.5 million in 2015 US dollars per statistical life with a confidence interval ($1.1–$2.3). This result is consistent with estimates for the developed world, after appropriate transfer. We also analyze demographic factors in the risk to life, finding a positive influence of income, risk aversion, previous victimization experience and family size on the value of a statistical life, as well as a negative impact of individualism.

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