Regulating the Rulemakers: A Proposal for Deliberative Cost-Benefit Analysis

44 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2008 Last revised: 5 Aug 2012

See all articles by Jennifer Nou

Jennifer Nou

University of Chicago - Law School


Modern risks are increasingly complex. Experts provide sober insights into the consequences of our regulatory choices. But these same risks also breed greater uncertainties and, thus, harder political decisions. Ever more urgent, then, becomes the need to ensure those decisions are transparent and accountable. Accordingly, this Note proposes the idea of deliberative cost-benefit analysis as a new regulatory paradigm, and offers concrete suggestions for implementing it. Simply stated, deliberative cost-benefit analysis entails the use of deliberative forums at critical stages of a cost-benefit study, including the designation of discount rates and measurements of willingness-to-pay. The results of this method would constitute a more legitimate means of administrative decision-making. Deliberative cost-benefit analysis can also mitigate social choice problems, uninformed preferences, and current deficits in democratic scrutiny.

Keywords: cost-benefit analysis, deliberative democracy, social choice, regulatory risks, citizens juries, deliberative polls

JEL Classification: A10, A11, A12, A13, A14, D70, D71, D72, D73, D78

Suggested Citation

Nou, Jennifer, Regulating the Rulemakers: A Proposal for Deliberative Cost-Benefit Analysis. Yale Law & Policy Review, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Jennifer Nou (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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