Regulation of Health, Safety, and Environmental Risks
AbstractThis 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 InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11934.
Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Polinsky, A. Mitchell and Steven Shavell (eds). Handbook of Law and Economics, Volume 1. Amsterdam: Elsevier, North-Holland, 2007.
Note: HC HE EEE
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Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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Other versions of this item:
- Viscusi, W. Kip, 2007. "Regulation of Health, Safety, and Environmental Risks," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
- K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
- Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
- J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
- J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-01-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENV-2006-01-24 (Environmental Economics)
- NEP-HEA-2006-01-24 (Health Economics)
- NEP-LAW-2006-01-24 (Law & Economics)
- NEP-REG-2006-01-24 (Regulation)
- NEP-UPT-2006-01-24 (Utility Models & Prospect Theory)
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