Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2017

Session Schedule & Abstracts

* Disclaimer: All presentations represent the views of the authors, and not the organizations that support their research. Please apply the standard disclaimer that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations in abstracts, posters, and presentations at the meeting are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other organization or agency. Meeting attendees and authors should be aware that this disclaimer is intended to apply to all abstracts contained in this document. Authors who wish to emphasize this disclaimer should do so in their presentation or poster. In an effort to make the abstracts as concise as possible and easy for meeting participants to read, the abstracts have been formatted such that they exclude references to papers, affiliations, and/or funding sources. Authors who wish to provide attendees with this information should do so in their presentation or poster.

Common abbreviations

Benefits, Costs and Risks for Health Environment

Room: Salon A   3:30 pm–5:00 pm

Chair(s): Deborah Aiken

Sponsored by Economics and Benefits Analysis Specialty Group and Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis

M4-A.1  3:30 pm  Controlling diesel emissions in Mexico City: a benefit-cost analysis. Evans JS, Hammitt JK*, Rojas-Bracho L; Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, Toulouse School of Economics

Abstract: Despite significant improvement in recent years, air pollution in Mexico City remains an important contributor to health and mortality risk. Emissions from diesel vehicles are a significant contributor to air pollution, and these could be mitigated by retrofitting vehicles with emission-control technology or replacing them with newer, cleaner vehicles. We present analysis of the changes in mortality risks, costs, and net benefits of a range of emission-control technologies as applied to vehicles of different types (e.g., buses, small and large trucks) and model years. Preliminary results suggest that many control technologies are cost-beneficial and that reductions in emissions of primary particles dominate, with smaller contributions of reductions in sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Results are sensitive to uncertainty about the relationship between emissions and concentrations and the economic value of reduced mortality risk.

M4-A.2  3:50 pm  Uncertainty Analysis in RIAs for Transportation Safety and Air Pollution Regulations. Aiken D, Good DH*, Krutilla K; Deborah Aiken, Department of Transportation, David Good, Indiana University, Kerry Krutilla, Indiana University

Abstract: This research assesses the uncertainty characterization in the RIAs of lifesaving rules issued by the DOT and EPA from 2011 through 2016. The goal is to identify standard practices; to assess the limitations and strengths of the evaluations; and to offer recommendations for improvement. Rules issued by the two agencies have different characteristics, and these differences influence the nature of the uncertainty evaluations. Both agencies have rules that mandate technology, but DOT rules also alter behavior or require certification. DOT rules target a focused subset of the population while EPA air pollution rules affect large populations. Noncompliance can be assumed in the baseline absent air regulation, whereas voluntary technology adoption is common in the market segments targeted by DOT rules. EPA rules rely on an air pollution modeling and empirical estimation of concentration response functions while DOT rules use a mix of data sources including crash databases, investigated crashes, and simulated crashes. Some DOT rules regulate infrequent safety risks (e.g., airline crashes) with only limited data available for evaluation. As a generalization, the major uncertainty in EPA rules lies in the concentration-response functions, rather than in the linkage between emissions control and the effects on concentrations, whereas more of the uncertainty in DOT evaluations occurs in the initial causal link between a safety intervention and crash avoidance/impact reduction. The link between emissions reductions and concentrations for EPA rules is based on peer-reviewed modeling platforms, whereas the heterogeneity of DOT rules necessitates a stand-alone evaluation of casual linkages between interventions and crash or accident reductions rule by rule. However, the different mechanisms for DOT rules are likely to be independent across rules, whereas EPA rules rely on the same mechanism for harm (PM2.5 health effects), giving the possibility of similar biases carrying over in the evaluations of all EPA rules.

M4-A.3  4:10 pm  Monetizing Benefits of Preventing Global Deaths from Foodborne Illness. Hoffmann S*; USDA Economic Research Service

Abstract: There is increasing demand for monetary estimates of population health impacts in middle and lower income countries both for use in evaluating national programs and for making global comparisons. There is particular interest in estimates of the value of reducing mortality risk, the most significant benefit from many population health and environmental programs (World Bank and IHME 2016 (air pollution), WHO 2015 (foodborne disease)). Yet as a practical matter for most countries, analysts must use benefits estimates developed in other settings (see OECD 2012). Such “benefits transfer” is most accurate when benefits comparisons are drawn from studies conducted in settings as similar as possible to those in which they are being applied (Johnston et al. 2015). A relatively large number of studies have been conducted in high income countries (OECD 2012). Unfortunately, there is a paucity of primary VSL studies in low and middle income countries, which makes either finding appropriate country-specific VSL estimates or using benefits transfer from other low or middle income countries or from high income countries difficult. Recent research has raised a number of methodological issues with benefits transfer from high to low income countries. This paper uses recently developed estimates of deaths from foodborne illness by WHO subregion to explore the implications of alternative methods for valuing the benefit of reducing deaths for a major global health problem.

M4-A.4  4:30 pm  LNT and Economic Analysis. Williams RA*, Yamoun DY; George Mason University

Abstract: The Linear No Threshold (LNT) model has been widely accepted for cancer risk assessments, with the assumption that a single molecule may initiate a cancer sequence. For many chemicals, and radiation, it is likely that that their are threshold’s at doses that would give rise to risks that begin at around 1 in 10,000. Because of this, estimates based on LNT will exaggerate the amount of target and reduced risks. We will examine how, for radiation, use of the LNT has generated expected benefits vastly in excess of the likely benefits (for soil clean-up) and suggest an economic definition of a threshold that will avoid this problem.

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