Cost-Benefit Analysis Versus the Precautionary Principle: Beyond Cass Sunstein's Laws of Fear
Gregory N. Mandel
Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law
James Thuo Gathii
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
University of Illinois Law Review, p. 1037, 2006
Perhaps the quintessential role of government is to protect its citizens from threats of all types: war, global warming, terrorism, disease, toxic substances. This essay provides a review and cri-tique of Sunstein's innovative contribution to the lively debate over how government should perform this role, a debate that often pits cost-benefit analysis against the precautionary principle. The authors contend that Sunstein's critique of the precautionary prin-ciple has merit, but that his much-discussed Laws of Fear propos-als are deficient in several significant respects. Sunstein's pro-posals fail to solve problems related to cost-benefit analysis, implementation of deliberative democracy, and incorporation of social values into responses to threats. The essay concludes with a recommendation for reconceptualizing the precautionary prin-ciple in a manner that saves it from Sunstein's critiques.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: Cost benefit, precautionary principle, threat, risk, fear, technology
JEL Classification: H11, K00, K32, K33, L51, O13, O14, O33, O38, Q17
Date posted: October 22, 2005
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