Labor Economics Expert Orley Ashenfelter ’64 On Measuring the Value of a Statistical Life

Orley Ashenfelter ’64, the Joseph Douglas Green 1895 Professor of Economics at Princeton University and a recent editor of the American Economic Review, will visit the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum on Tuesday, May 3 for a discussion on Measuring the Value of a Statistical Life: Problems and Pitfalls. The public portion of the program begins at 6:45 p.m. and seating is a on a first-come basis.

Ashenfelter, who has been on the faculty at Princeton since receiving his Ph.D. there in 1970, served as director of the Office of Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Labor in 1972, commencing his early work in a field now widely recognized as quantitative social program evaluation. Among methods he has developed is the use of natural experiments to infer causality, such as using twins to control for genetic factors that may confound the estimation of the effect of schooling. His areas of specialization include labor economics, econometrics, and law and economics. Some of his recent work has focused on auction markets, such as those for wine and art.

Tuesday’s Athenaeum address will focus on the problems and pitfalls of “measuring the value of a statistical life.” In this work Ashenfelter, who edited the Handbook of Labor Economics and in 2003 received the IZA Prize in Labor Economics, uses mandated speed limits to infer something about the value of life.

The department of economics annual presentation of awards will immediately precede Ashenfelter’s lecture.

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