Value of Reducing Children's Mortality Risk: Effects of Latency and Disease Type

EPA Grant Number: R830824
Title: Value of Reducing Children's Mortality Risk: Effects of Latency and Disease Type
Investigators: Hammitt, James K. , Haninger, Kevin
Institution: Harvard University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: March 1, 2003 through February 28, 2005
Project Amount: $271,746
RFA: Valuation of Environmental Impacts on Children's Health (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health Effects , Children's Health , Health , Economics and Decision Sciences


Despite research showing children may be differentially susceptible to various environmental health hazards, and that risks to children may be of greater social concern than risks to adults, there have been relatively few studies that estimate the economic value of reducing risk to children's health. We propose to design and conduct a contingent valuation (CV) survey to estimate household willingness-to-pay (WTP) to reduce mortality risk from pesticides in food and to compare WTP to reduce risks to children and risks to adults. We will examine how WTP depends on latency (the length of the period between exposure and development of symptoms), noting that childhood exposure may lead to childhood or adult disease and fatality. We will also evaluate how WTP depends on disease type, comparing terminal cancer and non-cancer illnesses that present similar symptoms and prognosis.


We will elicit values for risk reductions that vary across the following characteristics: whether the pesticide exposure is to a child or to an adult, whether the disease is latent or acute, whether the disease is cancer or not cancer. We will also vary the level of detail provided about the disease, to determine whether differences in WTP to reduce risks of cancer and non-cancer disease reflect differences in information. We will also vary the magnitude of risk reduction, and use sensitivity of WTP as a diagnostic criterion for validity of the results. Survey respondents will include both parents and non-parents to allow comparison with prior studies of the value of reducing risks to adults, and we will measure a variety of demographic variables that may influence WTP. By comparing estimated WTP between and within respondents, it will be possible to estimate the relative value of reducing health risks to children versus adults. The survey will be administered over the World Wide Web, which will facilitate the presentation of visual aids to assist in communicating the magnitude of risks to survey respondents.

Expected Results:

This project is anticipated to provide estimates of the value of reducing food-borne pesticide risk to children versus adults, as well as analysis of how age, latency, and disease type influence the valuation. Policymakers can use such estimates to evaluate the benefits of programs aimed at reducing risks to children.

Supplemental Keywords:

contingent valuation, preferences, willingness-to-pay, cost-benefit, RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Health, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, HUMAN HEALTH, Health Risk Assessment, Exposure, Economics, Risk Assessments, Children's Health, decision-making, Ecological Risk Assessment, Environmental Policy, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, contingent valuation, multi-objective decision making, policy analysis, surveys, economic valuation, age-related differences, decision analysis, dose-response, decision making, environmental values, market valuation models, non-market valuation, standards of value, human exposure, willingness to pay (WTP), children's vulnerablity, adult valuation of children's health, morbidity valuation, dietary exposure, public policy, willingness to pay, human health risk

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2003
  • Final