The Disconnect between Law and Policy Analysis: A Case Study of Drivers and Cell Phones

59 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2002

See all articles by Robert W. Hahn

Robert W. Hahn

Technology Policy Institute; University of Oxford, Smith School

Patrick M. Dudley

AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies

Date Written: May 2002

Abstract

This paper assesses the policy response to the use of cellular phones while driving from a legal, economic and political perspective. We argue that there is a fundamental disconnect between law and policy analysis. The disconnect arises largely because the political process is more responsive to the public's perception of risk than the scientists' risk assessments and the economists' policy analyses. Consequently, lawmakers are advocating both inefficient and ineffective regulatory options while ignoring important aspects of the problem. If cell phones represented an isolated example, there would be little cause for concern. Unfortunately, the problem is more general and therefore demands that policy makers consider new institutions for addressing potential biases in decision making. We examine possible explanations for the disconnect between law and policy analysis, and suggest some lessons about the design of institutions for addressing complex regulatory issues.

Keywords: Disconnect Between Law and Policy Analysis, Cell Phones, Case Study

JEL Classification: A00, C1, D00, H1, H10, J18, J28, K32, L62, L6

Suggested Citation

Hahn, Robert W. and Dudley, Patrick M., The Disconnect between Law and Policy Analysis: A Case Study of Drivers and Cell Phones (May 2002). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=315781 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.315781

Robert W. Hahn (Contact Author)

Technology Policy Institute ( email )

1401 Eye St. NW
Suite 505
Washington, DC 20005
United States

University of Oxford, Smith School ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

Patrick M. Dudley

AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies ( email )

1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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