Roy Model Sorting and Non-Random Selection in the Valuation of a Statistical Life
Wage-hedonics is used to recover the value of a statistical life by exploiting the fact that workers choosing riskier occupations will be compensated with a higher wage. However, Roy (1951) suggests that observed wage distributions will be distorted if individuals select into jobs according to idiosyncratic returns. We illustrate how this type of sorting may bias wage-hedonic VSL estimates and describe two estimators that correct for it. Using data from the CPS, we recover VSL estimates that are three to four times larger than those based on the traditional techniques, statistically significant, and robust to a wide array of specifications.