The John M. Olin Center

Paper Abstract

475. Jahn K. Hakes and W. Kip Viscusi, The Rationality of Automobile Seatbelt Usage: The Value of Statistical Life and Fatality Risk Beliefs, 05/2004; subsequently published as "Automobile Seatbelt Usage and the Value of Statistical Life" in Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 73, No. 3, 2007, 659-676.

Abstract: This article examines the rationality of seatbelt usage using an original data set of 465 adult respondents. People with high stated values of statistical life, who do not smoke, and who have risk beliefs that are highly elastic with respect to actual risks are more likely to use seatbelts, as economic theory predicts. Respondents' stated values of statistical life were similar on average to the value of life range of $2.2 million to $7.9 million computed from their revealed preferences for seatbelt usage, providing empirical support for the mutual consistency of these two approaches.

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