Retaking Rationality: How Cost-Benefit Analysis Can Better Protect the Environment and Our Health

Paperback | May 15, 2011

byRichard L. Revesz, Michael A. Livermore

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That America's natural environment has been degraded and despoiled over the past 25 years is beyond dispute. Nor has there been any shortage of reasons why-short-sighted politicians, a society built on over-consumption, and the dramatic weakening of environmental regulations. In Retaking Rationality, Richard L. Revesz and Michael A. Livermore argue convincingly that one of the least understood-and most important-causes of our failure to protect the environment has been a misguided rejection of reason. The authors show that environmentalists, labor unions, and otherprogressive groups have declined to participate in the key governmental proceedings concerning the cost-benefit analysis of federal regulations. As a result of this vacuum, industry groups have captured cost-benefit analysis and used it to further their anti-regulatory ends. Beginning in 1981, thefederal Office of Management and Budget and the federal courts have used cost-benefit analysis extensively to determine which environmental, health, and safety regulations are approved and which are sent back to the drawing board. The resulting imbalance in political participation has profoundlyaffected the nation's regulatory and legal landscape. But Revesz and Livermore contend that economic analysis of regulations is necessary and that it needn't conflict with - and can in fact support - a more compassionate approach to environmental policy. Indeed, they show that we cannot give up onrationality if we truly want to protect our natural environment. Retaking Rationality makes clear that by embracing and reforming cost-benefit analysis, and by joining reason and compassion, progressive groups can help enact strong environmental and public health regulation.

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That America's natural environment has been degraded and despoiled over the past 25 years is beyond dispute. Nor has there been any shortage of reasons why-short-sighted politicians, a society built on over-consumption, and the dramatic weakening of environmental regulations. In Retaking Rationality, Richard L. Revesz and Michael A. L...

Richard Revesz is Dean and Lawrence King Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He graduated summa cum laude in Civil Engineering and Public Affairs from Princeton University, received an M.S. in Civil Engineering from MIT, and was awarded his J.D. by Yale Law School, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Jo...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 6.1 × 9.21 × 0.59 inPublished:May 15, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199768951

ISBN - 13:9780199768950

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Compassion and ReasonPart I: Decisions Are Made By Those Who Show UpThe Case for Cost-Benefit AnalysisBeyond Tragic ChoicesThe Walls Go UpMissed OpportunitiesWinning the Good Fight (Sometimes)Part II: Eight Fallacies in Cost-Benefit AnalysisFallacy 1: All Unintended Consequences Are BadFallacy 2: Wealth Equals HealthFallacy 3: Older People Are Less ValuableFallacy 4: People Can't AdaptFallacy 5: People Always Want to Put Off Bad ThingsFallacy 6: We Are Worth More than Our ChildrenFallacy 7: People Value Only What They UseFallacy 8: Industry Can't AdaptPart III: Instituting Regulatory RationalityJumping Through HoopsShaky FoundationRethinking OIRABalancing The ScalesEpilogue: Self-Fulfilling PropheciesAcknowledgements