The “Value of a Statistical Life”:  Reflections from the Pandemic

The “Value of a Statistical Life”: Reflections from the Pandemic

Economists who insist that the “value of a statistical life” can be determined solely by looking at the preferences of individual economic agents in a market overstate their case and miss crucial alternatives. The pandemic has shown that democratic determinations of value for non-market goods (like human life) deserve greater consideration.

A Post-Neoliberal Regulatory Analysis for a Post-Neoliberal World

A Post-Neoliberal Regulatory Analysis for a Post-Neoliberal World

While treating economic growth as the summum bonum of public policy may reflect the preferences of economists, large majorities of voters across the political spectrum oppose using the aim of wealth maximization to guide regulatory decision-making. The time has come to abandon cost-benefit analysis and adopt a progressive approach to regulatory analysis.

Let’s Politicize Cost-Benefit Analysis

Let’s Politicize Cost-Benefit Analysis

Conservatives have used cost-benefit analysis much more strategically than liberals to advance underlying political goals. Rethinking CBA within an LPE framework will require not only critique of its technical assumptions, but a willingness to be similarly strategic in thinking about its deployment.

Equity in Regulatory Cost-Benefit Analysis

Equity in Regulatory Cost-Benefit Analysis

Standard cost-benefit analysis exacerbates inequality by assigning greater weight to benefits that accrue to the rich. But it need not. Here are three strategies for bringing concerns about distribution within the CBA framework.

Who Should Pay for Police Misconduct?

Who Should Pay for Police Misconduct?

George Floyd’s family will almost certainly bring a lawsuit against Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, the three officers on the scene who stood by, and the City as a whole. Assuming Floyd’s family prevails, who will foot the bill? And who should?

Losing at Its Own Game: the Right Retreats from Cost-Benefit Analysis

Losing at Its Own Game: the Right Retreats from Cost-Benefit Analysis

Over the past four decades, the right wing has painstakingly built an intellectual scheme to try to justify the weakening of regulatory public health protections on the basis of neoliberal economic theory. But a couple of decades ago, when the EPA began to figure out how—at least sometimes—to beat them at their own game, that…

To Democratize Environmental Law, Let Ordinary People Decide

To Democratize Environmental Law, Let Ordinary People Decide

Environmental law has never felt so undemocratic. On nearly every aspect of environmental protection, the federal government is disconnected from the desires of its citizens. The best most citizens can hope for is that a still-distant election will produce a friendlier administration, one that will manage to embrace our priorities despite the immense influence of industry. There’s an irony beneath that sense of powerlessness, one that reveals a tragic flaw in modern environmental law. I want to both explore that flaw and introduce a tool from environmental law’s past that might help fix it. It’s a tool that entrusts ordinary people to decide: the jury.