Regulating Fear: The Case of Ebola in the United States

7 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2014

See all articles by Arden Rowell

Arden Rowell

University of Illinois College of Law

Date Written: October 21, 2014

Abstract

A rash of recent news stories have documented Americans’ increasing fear of Ebola. That fear is unpleasant, and it can be costly and even dangerous. But it can also provide an opportunity for the government officials who will be coordinating the federal response to the risk of outbreak.

This short paper proposes a new way to think constructively about public fear. It argues that public fear presents regulators and government officials with the chance to help fear do what it is supposed to do: encourage people to pay attention to the things that imperil them. Regulators and government officials can battle Ebola — or indeed, any other highly dreaded risk — by identifying behaviors that can help individuals take control of their fears, while getting a kick-start to action that is “just as well” to do anyway.

Keywords: Regulation, risk communication, fear, ebola, dread

JEL Classification: I18, K32, D81, K2

Suggested Citation

Rowell, Arden, Regulating Fear: The Case of Ebola in the United States (October 21, 2014). University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-05, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2513130 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2513130

Arden Rowell (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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