The Cost-benefit State: The Future of Regulatory Protection
Gradually, in fits and starts, American Government is becoming a cost-benefit state: government regulation is increasingly assessed by asking whether the benefits of regulation justify the costs of regulation. The rise of the cost-benefit state is creating a number of intriguing and novel challenges for policy analysts, for all branches of government, and for the law in general. If a statute allows agencies to balance lives against costs, how will the balancing occur? What are the legal limitations on the agencies' choice of how to balance costs and benefits? How can lives and health be turned into monetary equivalents? What is the value of life? How should an agency handle a small risk of catastrophe, from terrorism, nuclear power, natural causes or some other source? How, if at all, should future generations be counted? What does it mean to say that agencies can exempt trivial risks from regulation? How do we know that a risk counts as 'trivial'? How can it be legitimate for courts to allow agencies to make such exemptions? This book hopes to make some progress on such questions.
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