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Reforming Risk Regulation

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  • ROGER G. NOLL

Abstract

A commonly observed characteristic of risk regulation policy is the absence of coherent prioritization of risks and inconsistencies in the stringency of controls on risks that are regulated. The purpose of this article is to examine the roots of this problem in the way both citizens and their elected representatives deal with uncertainties associated with catastrophic risks, why elected politicians respond to this problem in constructing regulatory institutions that are prone to inconsistency, and whether various proposals to reform the regulatory process would be likely to improve its performance. The main conclusions are that most reform proposals are strongly inconsistent with democratic responsiveness, which is the most important principle that elected officials use in designing programs, and that the only plausible means for making regulatory policy more coherent is to increase the resources of regulatory agencies so as to give them greater control over the public agenda in risk policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger G. Noll, 1996. "Reforming Risk Regulation," The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, , vol. 545(1), pages 165-175, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:anname:v:545:y:1996:i:1:p:165-175
    DOI: 10.1177/0002716296545001017
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    1. McCubbins, Mathew D & Noll, Roger G & Weingast, Barry R, 1987. "Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control," The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 243-277, Fall.
    2. Noll, Roger G & Krier, James E, 1990. "Some Implications of Cognitive Psychology for Risk Regulation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 747-779, June.
    3. David, Paul A. & Bunn, Julie Ann, 1988. "The economics of gateway technologies and network evolution: Lessons from electricity supply history," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 165-202.
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