Valuing risks of death from terrorism and natural disasters

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Abstract

This paper uses a random utility model to examine stated preferences for the valuation of public risks of fatalities from terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Traffic-related deaths serve as the common reference point in two series of pairwise risk-risk tradeoff choices. Even after taking into account differences in respondent risk beliefs, the nationally representative sample values the prevention of terrorism deaths almost twice as highly as preventing natural disaster deaths and at about the same level as preventing deaths from traffic accidents, which pose greater personal risk. Education, seatbelt usage, political preferences, and terrorism risk beliefs affect valuations in the expected manner.

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