Automobile Seatbelt Usage and the Value of Statistical Life
Viscusi, W. Kip
Hakes, Jahn K.
This article uses several within-sample tests to assess whether current seatbelt usage decisions are consistent with the stated preferences of survey respondents. The expressed survey values of statistical life are positively associated with the probability of seatbelt usage and are not statistically different from the values of statistical life implied by seatbelt usage decisions, which are in the $1.9 million to $8.4 million range. Seatbelt usage also varies in the expected manner with individual measures of heterogeneous attitudes toward risk, such as smoking status and education. Our evidence on seatbelt usage supports the view that consumers consistently balance expected safety benefits against the time and discomfort costs of seatbelt use.