Valuing a Statistical Life Year in Relation to Clean Air

Lars Hein*, Pete Roberts, Lucia Gonzalez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Environmental cost-benefit analysis is increasingly used to support the formulation of European air quality policies. In these analyses, typically around three-quarters of the societal benefits of cleaner air are related to monetised increases in statistical life expectancy. However, the literature presents widely diverging estimates for the value of a statistical life year (a 'VOLY'). This paper presents a review of studies aimed at establishing a VOLY as used in European air quality policies and it examines the factors that cause the variations in VOLY estimates. We discuss the implications of our findings for European air quality policies and also present a novel approach to analyse the VOLY. We have labelled our approach the 'maximum societal revenue VOLY' (MSR-VOLY), and postulate that this approach may be particularly useful in the context of natural capital accounting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1650025
JournalJournal of environmental assessment policy and management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • air pollution
  • cost-benefit analysis
  • Europe
  • policy
  • VOLY

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