December 2016: Warning: People Ignore Warning Labels - Chances are, you encounter so many warning labels on a daily basis that you no longer bother reading them. And even if you do, it's nearly impossible to determine if a product represents a true hazard or if you're just encountering a bunch of weasel words designed solely to avoid lawsuits. Not surprisingly, this is a problem. [Read at the Los Angeles Times
December 2016: Risk Beliefs and Preferences for E-Cigarettes - Professor Viscusi discussed the research and results found in his recent article "Risk Beliefs and Preferences for E-Cigarettes," American Journal of Health Economics 2(2): 213-240 (2016), for the December 2016 issue of AJHE NewsBrief. [Read at AJHE NewsBrief]
November 2016: Consumer Warning Labels Aren't Working - Warning labels are everywhere. They alert us to the risks of eating unhealthy foods, smoking cigarettes, taking prescription drugs, driving cars, using power tools, and performing many other activities. Ideally, these warnings provide requisite risk information, allowing people to decide for themselves whether an activity or a product’s benefits outweigh its risks, whether to take those risks, and, if so, with what precautions.
November 2016: Do We Know How Risky E-cigarettes Are? - Professor Viscusi writes that, while e-cigarettes deliver nicotine and consequently pose risks of addiction, they pose far fewer health risks than conventional cigarettes. As a result, regulators face an unusual challenge in regulating these “vaping” devices. [Read at RegBlog]
March 2016: Why the Government Puts a Dollar Value on Life - How much is a life worth? Most people balk at putting a number on something so precious, but when the government considers implementing expensive regulations to save lives, it must determine whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Government agencies are required to conduct a cost-benefit analysis for every regulation expected to cost $100 million or more in a year, according to W. Kip Viscusi, an economist at Vanderbilt University, is quoted. [Read the article at WSJ.com]
May 2015: Why Is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Undervaluing American Lives? - How much is your life worth? That's a key, but controversial, question for the federal government. Although it might seem distasteful to put a monetary value on a life, when federal agencies consider adopting new health and safety rules -- or strengthening old ones -- they often do just that and weigh the proposed rule's costs against its lifesaving benefits. The lower value they give to a life, the easier it is for them to reject a proposed safety measure as too costly. W. Kip Viscusi is quoted on the value that is currently used, and has been used since 1982, by the NRC. [Read at HuffingtonPost.com]
November 2014: Professor Viscusi's research with Richard Zeckhauser is featured on Reuters. Their paper, "Pricing Lives for Corporate Risk Decisions," is forthcoming in Vanderbilt Law Review. The paper's focus is on how the 2014 GM ignition switch recall highlighted the inadequacies of the company's safety culture and the shortcomings of regulatory sanctions. The article proposes that companies place a greater value on lives at risk than they have in previous risk analyses and that they be given legal protections for product risk analyses. A follow up piece on Reuters, quoting Viscusi extensively, is available here.
July 2014: Professor Viscusi's research with Ted Gayer, in a working paper for Brookings "Determining the Proper Scope of Climate Change Benefits," is featured by Jim Patterson in Research News @ VU .
April 2014: The Takeda verdict: Why the $9 billion award will likely shrink - A federal jury late Monday stuck Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and marketing partner Eli Lilly with a whopping $9 billion in punitive damages for allegedly hiding the cancer risks associated with the diabetes drug Actos. But how likely is it that the companies will actually fork over that amount? Not very, say legal experts. W. Kip Viscusi, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management, is quoted. [Read at WSJ.com]
February 2014: Representatives Henry Waxman of California and Peter Welch of Vermont, along with Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, have sent letters to the attorneys general in their respective states asking them to fold e-cigarettes into the Master Settlement Agreement with Big Tobacco as a way of keeping the electronic devices out of the hands of children, writes columnist Daniel Fisher. W. Kip Viscusi, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management, is quoted. [Read at Forbes ]
October 2013: Professor Viscusi's article "Using data from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries to estimate the "value of a statistical life" is the Featured Article in the October 2013 Monthly Labor Review, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
June 2013: On June 19, 2013, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on railroad safety, including the progress on installing anticrash gear. Central to the debate is the delicate matter of putting a dollar value on saving a life. It is an age-old regulatory predicament—namely, whether or not spending to make one thing safe steers money away from addressing a more serious threat elsewhere. W. Kip Viscusi, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management, is quoted. [Read at WSJ.com]
In its 2013 guidance memo, DOT updated its approach for assigning a dollar value to prevention of fatal injuries, which is now over $9 million per expected fatality. DOT relied upon Viscusi’s studies to set the overall valuation of risk to life, the reasonable range of valuation estimates, and the effect of income levels on these values. The previous DOT methodology was based largely on the 2003 meta-analysis of value of statistical life studies by Viscusi and Aldy, while the current approach relies on labor market studies using newer occupational fatality data. Yellow highlighting in the attached DOT guidance document indicates all studies authored or coauthored by Viscusi. [Read the DOT 2013 guidance memo]
Professor Viscusi's research with Ted Gayer, published in the Mercatus Center study "Overriding Consumer Preferences with Energy Regulations," is featured in "Are Pollution Controls Worth their Costs?" on www.realclearmarkets.com.
Professor Viscusi's research with Ted Gayer, published in the Mercatus Center study "Overriding Consumer Preferences with Energy Regulations," is featured by Brian McGraw in "Consumer Preferences Versus Energy Efficiency Regulations"on www.globalwarming.org. [Read at www.globalwarming.org]
Professor Viscusi's research with Ted Gayer, published in the Mercatus Center study "Overriding Consumer Preferences with Energy Regulations," is featured by Jim Patterson in Research News @ VU .
Professor Viscusi's research with Ted Gayer, published in the Mercatus Center study "Overriding Consumer Preferences with Energy Regulations," is featured in "Energy Efficiency Regulations Set Dangerous Precedent" in the Economic Intelligence Op-Ed section of US News & World Report. [Read at US News & World Report ]
Professor Viscusi's research with Ted Gayer, published in the Mercatus Center study "Overriding Consumer Preferences with Energy Regulations," is featured in Bloomberg BNA. [Download the Bloomberg BNA pdf]
Professor Viscusi is interviewed about the Federal Aviation Administration's use of the value of statistical life numbers by Business Week's Andrew Zajac in "Airline Crash Deaths Too Few to Make New Safety Rules Pay."
Professor Viscusi, expert on the efficacy of warning labels, is quoted by Steve Chapman for The Chicago Tribune in "Big Brother Gets Really Ugly: New Cigarette Labels are Enough to Make You Ill." [Read the Chicago Tribune article]
Professor Viscusi is quoted by Thomas Kaplan for The New York Times in "Lessons for Albany on Malpractice Limits." [Read the New York Times article]
Professor Viscusi's work on the statistical value of life is featured in "As U.S. Agencies Put More Value on a Life, Businesses Fret," by Binyamin Appelbaum. Agencies under the Obama administration are raising the value of a life based on Professor Viscusi's research. [Read the New York Times article]
Professors Hersch and Viscusi find that Mexican immigrants work in jobs with higher fatality risks and receive little wage compensation for these risks. Non-Mexican immigrants face similar labor market conditions as U.S. natives. [Read more]
Professor Viscusi takes issue with the New York Times Magazine's characterization of labor market estimates of the value of life. [Read the New York Times Magazine letter]
Professor Viscusi gives his take on the topic "Do We Tolerate Too Many Traffic Deaths?" [Read the New York Times forum]
Professor Viscusi's paper with Alison Del Rossi, "The Changing Landscape of Blockbuster Punitive Damages Awards," is cited by the Las Vegas Review-Journal in "Hepatitis C Lawsuit: Jury Awards Henderson Couple $500 Million Award." [Read the article]
Read the press release for W. Kip Viscusi's paper with Joel Huber, Jason Bell, and Caroline Cecot, "Discontinuous Behavioral Responses to Recycling Laws and Plastic Water Bottle Deposits."
Read W. Kip Viscusi's take on the Welsh texting dangers video that has "gone viral." Viscusi explains that the graphic nature of the video may obscure the warning message. [Read the New York Times article]
Read W. Kip Viscusi on the value of life in the Winter 2009 edition of Vanderbilt Medicine magazine.
Listen to the June 12, 2009 Cato Daily Podcast: "Will Sound Science Govern Tobacco Regulation?" featuring Peter Van Doren. (mp3)
Read the press release for W. Kip Viscusi's paper "The Devaluation of Life," recently published in Regulation & Governance.
Sally C. Pipes, President & CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, quotes Professor Viscusi's research on cigarette taxes in her op-ed piece "Soda-tax Proposal Should Fizzle Out in Congress."
Professor Viscusi is a leading contributor to the Vanderbilt Law & Economics Working Paper Series on SSRN. New additions include:
Erica Werner interviews Professor Viscusi in "FACT CHECK: Do smokers cost society money?"
Professor Viscusi responds to a query about Cass R. Sunstein, the new head of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for Congressional Quarterly Weekly .
Professor Viscusi has been quoted in the Washington Post front-page feature "Cosmic Markdown: EPA Says Life is Worth Less," by David A. Fahrenthold.
Professor Viscusi has been quoted in the AP Impact story “An American Life Worth Less Today,” which highlights the Environmental Protection Agency’s reduction in the value of statistical life by nearly $1 million since 2003. Viscusi says the cut and the procedure by which the reduction was reckoned “don’t make sense.” Read the Associated Press story.
Professor Viscusi wrote "A Price on Your Head" for Forbes magazine's On My Mind column.
The popular magazine Men's Health asks Professor Viscusi about perception of health risks.
The New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks cites Professor Viscusi's research on risk perception among smokers in "The Entitlements People."
Q&A with W. Kip Viscusi about risk, the value of life, and measures aimed at improving public safety. The interview appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of Region Focus , a quarterly publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Virginia.
Vanderbilt University has received an EPA award for $120,000 for a project titled “The Appropriateness of Panel Based Findings.” University Distinguished Professor W. Kip Viscusi is the Project Director. The study will determine the effectiveness of panel based internet survey administration as well as the accuracy of survey results. The project will involve collaborative work with Duke University and will be completed by 2011.
The Economics Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Vanderbilt University a grant in conjunction with Resources for the Future, a non-profit, non-partisan think-tank based in Washington, D.C., to study mad cow disease. Vanderbilt’s share of the funding for this project, "Managing Invasive Species Risks,” is $78,439. The project will be completed this year.
Vanderbilt University will also receive an EPA STAR award for $675,173 for a study of the economic value of morbidity risks in drinking water in a project titled "The Economic Value of Health Improvements to Drinking Water." This project will involve collaborative work with Duke University and will be completed in 2009.
Vanderbilt University has received an EPA award for $120,000 for a project titled “The Appropriateness of Panel Based Findings.” The study will determine the effectiveness of panel based internet survey administration as well as the accuracy of survey results. The project will involve collaborative work with Duke University and will be completed by 2011.
W. Kip Viscusi is Project Director for each of these grant-assisted research projects.
2006 Distinguished Economist of the Year Award, Kentucky Economics Association, and commissioned as Kentucky Colonel.
2006 Ronald H. Coase Prize, University of Chicago Law School, for article "Recollection Bias and the Combat of Terrorism," with Richard J. Zeckhauser, Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 34, No.1 (January 2005), pp. 27-55.