Dread and latency impacts on a VSL for cancer risk reductions

Rebecca L. Mcdonald, Susan M. Chilton, Michael W. Jones-lee, Hugh R. T. Metcalf

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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We propose a structural relationship between the value of preventing a statistical cancer fatality and the value of statistical life (VSL) for risks of an instantaneous road accident fatality. This relationship incorporates a context effect reflecting both the illness or ‘morbidity’ associated with cancer fatality and the ‘dread’ or horror associated with the prospect of eventual death from cancer, as well as a latency effect that captures the discounting likely to arise because the onset of the symptoms of cancer typically occurs after some delay. We use a Risk-Risk trade-off study to validate this model by directly estimating the influence of context and latency effects upon the relative size of the VSL for cancer and for road accidents, confirming that both effects are significant and estimating their size using regression analysis. We show that morbidity accounts for the majority of the context premium. We use the elicited coefficients to reconstruct VSL estimates for a range of cancers characterised by their latency and morbidity periods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-161
JournalJournal of Risk and Uncertainty
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


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