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Transportation Choices, Fatalism, and the Value of Life in Africa

Sierra Leone

Gianmarco León
Edward Miguel

This paper exploits an unusual transportation setting to generate some of the first revealed preference value of a statistical life (VSL) estimates from a low-income setting. We estimate the trade-offs individuals are willing to make between mortality risk and cost as they travel to and from the international airport in Sierra Leone. The setting and original dataset allow us to address some typical omitted variable concerns, and also to compare VSL estimates for travelers from different countries, all facing the same choice situation. The average VSL estimate for African travelers in the sample is US$ 577,000 compared to US $924,000 for non-Africans.

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics VOL. 9, NO. 1, JANUARY 2017

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