Safety at Any Price?

10 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2003

See all articles by W. Kip Viscusi

W. Kip Viscusi

Vanderbilt University - Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics

Ted Gayer

Brookings Institution

Abstract

After three decades of experience with extensive government regulation and oversight of health, safety and environmental matters, we have reason to believe that those measures have largely failed to fulfill their initial promise, but many of the initial promises were infeasible goals of a "zero-risk" society. Economic findings with respect to risk-risk tradeoffs highlight the fallacies inherent in government's zero-risk mentality. Agencies that make an unbounded financial commitment to safety frequently are sacrificing individual lives. There continues to be major opportunities to improve regulatory performance by targeting existing inefficiencies and using market mechanisms (rather than strict command-and-control mechanisms) to achieve regulatory goals.

Keywords: risk, cost-benefit analysis, risk-risk analysis, health regulation, safety regulation, value of a statistical life

Suggested Citation

Viscusi, W. Kip and Gayer, Ted, Safety at Any Price?. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=344043 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.344043

W. Kip Viscusi (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-343-7715 (Phone)
615-322-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/bio/?pid=w-kip-viscusi

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://as.vanderbilt.edu/economics/bio/wkip-viscusi/

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://business.vanderbilt.edu/bio/w-kip-viscusi/

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Ted Gayer

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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