Effects of Disease Type and Latency on the Value of Mortality Risk

Jin-Tan Liu, James K. Hammitt

NBER Working Paper No. 10012
Issued in October 2003
NBER Program(s):Health Economics

We evaluate the effects of disease type and latency on willingness to pay (WTP) to reduce environmental risks of chronic, degenerative disease. Using contingent-valuation data collected from approximately 1,200 respondents in Taiwan, we find that WTP declines with latency between exposure to environmental contaminants and manifestation of any resulting disease, at a 1.5 percent annual rate for a 20 year latency period. WTP to reduce the risk of cancer is estimated to be about one-third larger than WTP to reduce risk of a similar chronic, degenerative disease. The value of risk reduction also depends on the affected organ, environmental pathway, or payment mechanism: estimated WTP to reduce the risk of lung disease due to industrial air pollution is twice as large as WTP to reduce the risk of liver disease due to contaminated drinking water.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10012

Published: Liu, Jin-Tan and James K. Hammitt. “Effects of Disease Type and Latency on the Value of Mortality Risk." Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 28 (2004): 73-95. citation courtesy of

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