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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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The Law and Politics of Risk Assessment

The Law and Politics of Risk Assessment

(p.252) Chapter Eight The Law and Politics of Risk Assessment
The Politics of Precaution

David Vogel

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes how and explains why American regulatory policies have moved away from and European policies moved toward a precautionary approach to assessing and managing risks. It begins by documenting the precautionary basis of many of the risk regulations adopted by the United States, primarily before 1990, providing further evidence that there is nothing distinctively “European” about a precautionary approach to risk regulation. It then turns to the increasingly important role of regulatory impact analyses in the United States, which include both scientific risk assessments and cost–benefit analyses. The United States also experienced an influential backlash that questioned the rationale behind many of the highly risk-averse regulations it had previously adopted, claiming that many were false positive policy errors.

Keywords:   American regulatory policies, European policies, risk assessment, risk regulation, cost–benefit analyses, policy errors

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