Catastrophic risk review

26 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2022 Last revised: 6 Jun 2024

Date Written: September 1, 2022


In the United States, cost-benefit analysis plays a substantial role in government policy making in traditional regulatory areas, such as automobile safety and air quality. But the management of catastrophic risk has largely fallen outside the purview of cost-benefit analysis. The primary reasons that cost-benefit analysis has played a less important role in the context of catastrophic risks are procedural, rather than methodological. Although improvements can be made to cost-benefit analysis techniques to better account for catastrophic risks, the more important set of reforms—and the ones discussed in this proposal—are institutional.

Keywords: cost-benefit analysis, existential risk

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Livermore, Michael A., Catastrophic risk review (September 1, 2022). Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2022-65, Virginia Law and Economics Research Paper No. 2022-21, LawAI Working Paper No. 3-2022, Available at SSRN: or

Michael A. Livermore (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

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