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Regulation of Health, Safety, and Environmental Risks

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  • W. Kip Viscusi

Abstract

This paper provides a systematic review of the economic analysis of health, safety, and environmental regulations. Although the market failures that give rise to a rationale for intervention are well known, not all market failures imply that market risk levels are too great. Hazard warnings policies often can address informational failures. Some market failures may be exacerbated by government policies, particularly those embodying conservative risk assessment practices. Labor market estimates of the value of statistical life provide a useful reference point for the efficient risk tradeoffs for government regulation. Guided by restrictive legislative mandates, regulatory policies often strike a quite different balance with an inordinately high cost per life saved. The risk-risk analysis methodology enables analysts to assess the net safety implications of policy efforts. Inadequate regulatory enforcement and behavioral responses to regulation may limit their effectiveness, while rising societal wealth will continue to generate greater levels of health and safety.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11934.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
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Publication status: published as Polinsky, A. Mitchell and Steven Shavell (eds). Handbook of Law and Economics, Volume 1. Amsterdam: Elsevier, North-Holland, 2007.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11934

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Cited by:
  1. Tomas J. Philipson & Eric Sun, 2008. "Is the Food And Drug Administration Safe And Effective?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 85-102, Winter.
  2. Peter Kooreman & Henriëtte Prast, 2010. "What Does Behavioral Economics Mean for Policy? Challenges to Savings and Health Policies in the Netherlands," De Economist, Springer, vol. 158(2), pages 101-122, June.
  3. Alejandro Donado & Klaus Wälde, 2008. "Trade Unions go global!," Working Papers 2008_22, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow, revised Aug 2008.
  4. J.A. den Hertog, 2010. "Review of economic theories of regulation," Working Papers 10-18, Utrecht School of Economics.
  5. Angelova, Vera & Attanasi, Giuseppe & Hiriart, Yolande, 2012. "Relative Performance of Liability Rules: Experimental Evidence," LERNA Working Papers 12.05.362, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
  6. Matthew A Cole & Robert J R Elliott & Joanne K Lindley, 2009. "Dirty Money: Is there a Wage Premium for Working in a Pollution Intensive Industry," Discussion Papers 09-13, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.

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