The value of changes in mortality risk is conventionally estimated by the marginal rate of substitution between income and mortality risk - the value per statistical life (VSL). The income elasticity of VSL is important for
estimating how the value of mortality risk varies with time (for evaluating programs with long-lived effects) and across populations with different income levels (for evaluating programs with international consequences). In the context of climate-change policy, both issues are important, and the appropriate method for evaluating effects on mortality risk has engendered substantial
controversy. Previous estimates of income elasticity based
on meta-analysis of wage-differential studies and cross-sectional comparisons in stated-preference studies suggest values of approximately 0.5, while international comparisons and extrapolation from estimates of the
coefficient of relative risk aversion imply values between 0.5 and 2 or more. We present new estimates based on a 16 year series of wage-differential estimates in Taiwan. Between 1982 and 1997, estimated VSL increased eight-fold while per capita GNP increased two and half times and the occupational fatality rate decreased by half. Comparison of VSL with GNP per capita implies the income elasticity is between 2 and 3, but controlling for changes in endogenous job risk and worker characteristics yields estimates between 0.6 and 0.9.