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The Politics of PrecautionRegulating Health, Safety, and Environmental Risks in Europe and the United States$
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David Vogel

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691124162

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691124162.001.0001

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Explaining Regulatory Policy Divergence

Explaining Regulatory Policy Divergence

(p.22) Chapter Two Explaining Regulatory Policy Divergence
The Politics of Precaution

David Vogel

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores several alternative explanations for the divergence in transatlantic risk regulation, and discusses the policy shifts that have taken place on both sides of the Atlantic since around 1990. The United States and the fifteen member states of the EU are affluent democracies with sophisticated public bureaucracies, substantial scientific capacities, and strong civic cultures. Their regulatory officials have access to much of the same scientific expertise and there is extensive communication among policy makers, scientists, business managers, nongovernment organizations, and citizens. The chapter shows how divergent risk regulations between the United States and the EU add to the costs of transatlantic commerce and also raise the costs of international trade as some countries adopt European standards and others adopt American ones.

Keywords:   transatlantic risk regulation, United States, EU, policy shifts, affluent democracies, policy makers, nongovernment organizations, transatlantic commerce

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