Saving Lives Through Administrative Law and Economics
AbstractThis article examines the recent history and future of federal lifesaving regulation. The article argues that, considering both philosophical and practical perspectives, lifesaving regulation informed by benefit-cost analysis (BCA) has compelling advantages compared to the main alternatives to BCA. Contrary to the popular belief that BCA exerts only an anti-regulation influence, I show, based on first-hand experience in the White House from 2001 to 2006, that BCA is also an influential tool in protecting or advancing valuable lifesaving rules, especially in a pro-business Republican administration. Various criticisms of BCA that are common in the legal literature are shown to be unconvincing: the tool's alleged immorality when applied to lifesaving situations, its supposed indeterminacy due to conceptual and empirical shortcomings, and the alleged biases in the way benefits and costs are computed. But the article also pinpoints problems in the "benefit-cost" state, including opportunities for improvement in the process of lifesaving regulation. Innovations in analytic practice, coupled with improvements in the design of regulatory systems, are proposed to strengthen the efficiency and fairness of federal lifesaving regulation. The article's suggestions provide a menu of promising reforms for consideration by the new administration and the new Congress as they take office in January 2009.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Regulation2point0 in its series Working paper with number 299.
Date of creation: Dec 2008
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- Thomas Kniesner & W. Viscusi & James Ziliak, 2010. "Policy relevant heterogeneity in the value of statistical life: New evidence from panel data quantile regressions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 15-31, February.
- Thomas J. Kniesner & W. Kip Viscusi & James P. Ziliak, 2009. "Policy Relevant Heterogeneity in the Value of Statistical Life: New Evidence from Panel Data Quantile Regressions," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 118, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
- Scott Farrow, 2009. "Incorporating Equity in Regulatory and Benefit-Cost Analysis Using Risk Based Preferences," UMBC Economics Department Working Papers 09-117, UMBC Department of Economics.
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